Merchants Bancshares, Inc. (Nasdaq: MBVT), the parent company of Merchants Bank, today announced net income of $2.91 million or diluted earnings per share of $0.48 for the quarter ended March 31, 2009. This compares with net income of $2.66 million or diluted earnings per share of $0.44 for the first quarter of 2008. Merchants previously announced the declaration of a dividend of 28 cents per share, payable May 14, 2009, to shareholders of record as of April 30, 2009.The return on average assets was 0.87% for the first quarter of 2009, compared to 0.88% for the first quarter of 2008. The return on average equity was 14.50% for the first quarter of this year, compared to 13.83% for the same period in 2008.”We were able to continue our strong performance into the first quarter of 2009, with earnings per share up 9%, compared to the same period in 2008, in spite of the continued challenging economic climate,” said Michael R. Tuttle, Merchants’ President and CEO. “We experienced solid growth in both loans and deposits during the quarter. Asset quality remained strong and capital levels continue to be well in excess of regulatory requirements.”Merchants’ net interest income increased $2.70 million, or 28.0%, for the first quarter of 2009, compared to the same period in 2008. This increase was a result of strong growth in both loans and deposits, in addition to lowered funding costs during the quarter. Average interest earning assets for the quarter were $1.30 billion, compared to $1.14 billion for the first quarter of 2008. Merchants’ net interest margin for the first quarter of 2009 was 3.85%, compared to 3.40% for the first quarter of 2008.Merchants’ quarterly average loans were $865.96 million, an increase of $128.35 million, or 17% over the first quarter of 2008, and were $40.57 million, or 5% higher on a linked quarter basis. Loans ended the first quarter of 2009 at $892.58 million, an increase of $45.45 million over December 31, 2008 ending balances of $847.13 million. The increase since December 31, 2008, is comprised of residential and commercial mortgages, and commercial loans. Merchants has hired additional lenders in its corporate banking group, which has led to increased loan production. Tuttle commented, “Our status as the last independent, statewide bank continues to have appeal to business owners and has helped us attract new commercial customers. The combination of lower interest rates and reduced competition in the residential area, coupled with the fact that we do not originate loans for sale, has provided us with a substantial pipeline of new retail customers.”
AR Printery, long-time supporters and sponsors of the LGC, has committed to hosting a full weekend of tournament play to welcome back golfers after a few weeks layoff.Managing Director of the company, Ramroop ‘Cecil’ Jiwanram recently announced his presidential bid to contest the national elections with the Guyana United Democratic (GUD) Party and says that the development of sports is a key factor in Guyana’s growth.The dynamic print company, which is one of the largest in the country, is a staunch supporter of both golf and motor racing and will have their authorised race cars on display at the upcoming Guyana Open, scheduled for October 25-27.Jiwanram stated, “We are always happy to support the president of the LGC, Aleem Hussain, and the club since we count on his support in our other ventures. This year we wanted to do something extra for the LGC and decided that supporting two tournaments was the way to go “.AR Printery is located in Belair and provides top quality printing and design for every need, no matter how big or small. For more information on their services, feel free to contact them at [email protected] or 603-1250.The tournaments will be two one-day individual events starting today at 12:30hrs and continuing tomorrow at 20:30hrs.Prizes for the top three finishers in the 0-14 and 15-36 categories, along with nearest to pin and longest drive will be awarded on both days.After a few weeks of non-tournament activity, the sponsor hopes that its commitment to the LGC and the game of golf will be met with enthusiasm by the golfers and a large turnout is expected.Members of the public are invited to show up and spectate and learn about the game with lessons and equipment being provided at no cost.With the MACORP-sponsored lighted driving range close to completion, persons of any skill level will be able to participate in the sport as it continues to attract national attention.For more information on the game, LGC or activities you may visit them at Lusignan Golf Club on Facebook or call 220-5660.