Bar Harbor Bankshares sees record earnings in 2011

Bar Harbor Bankshares announced that it hit record earnings in 2011, up 10.3 percent over 2010.

The company saw 2011 profits of $11 million, compared with $10 million in 2010. For the fourth quarter, the bank saw profits of $2.4 million, an increase of $362,000 over the same period in 2010.

Bar Harbor Bankshares is the parent company of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, which has 12 branches Downeast and in the mid-coast region of Maine.

“Despite a still troubled economy, high unemployment, depressed real estate markets and weak consumer confidence, 2011 marked another very successful year for Bar Harbor Bankshares. We are pleased to report record earnings, continued loan growth, an improved net interest margin and a strong capital position,” said President and CEO Joseph M. Murphy. “While most banks have been reporting little or no loan growth, we are pleased to report 2011 loan growth of $28.3 million or 4.0%. This growth was achieved despite slowing demand and an uncertain economic outlook. Our commercial, consumer and residential mortgage loan portfolios all posted increases compared with year-end 2010, demonstrating our ongoing financial commitment to the communities served by the bank.”

Looking forward, Murphy said the bank would be dealing with the impact of the recently enacted Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, “which will add additional complexity and compliance costs to the operations of all community banks.”

“While emergence from the national recession continues, we anticipate a prolonged economic recovery. We expect a continuation of sluggish loan demand in the year ahead along with some pressure on our net interest margin, given current monetary policy and continued quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve,” Murphy said.

The bank ended the year with $1.17 billion in total assets. Its residential mortgage loan portfolio grew $8.4 million, or 3.6 percent, in 2011, “despite elevated levels of refinancing activity and a generally depressed real estate market.”

Commercial loan growth slowed in 2011 to $7 million or 1.8 percent, following a $28.3 million or 7.7 percent increase in 2010.

“Commercial loan growth has been generally challenged by economic uncertainty, a weak economy and vigorous competition for quality loans,” the bank reported.

Bar Harbor Bankshares trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BHB. It closed at $29.75 a share Tuesday.