Community bank investment programs grew 6.3% in first quarter this year, the best first quarter since the pre-crisis days of 2007, according to the Michael White-Securities America Report: Community Bank Investment Programs. While most of the total growth was due to the influx of thrifts into the data, the average measures analyzed by the report all increased as well.

The average production level for a community bank in the first quarter was $99,175, up from $91,151 last year. The penetration rate per $1 million of retail deposits, a common measure of customer engagement, or “wallet share,” was $213, up from $204 last year. And the percentage of noninterest income that the programs account for was 8.46% for the quarter, up almost a full percentage point from 7.56%.

Of 673 community banks that reported investment program income in first quarter 2013 and are on track to earn minimum revenues of $150,000 for the year, 68% grew their investment program income from last year. And fully 56% of them grew it by 10% or more.

For specific results, CenterState Bank of Florida led the way with program fee income of $7.4 million. Rounding out the top five are: North Shore Community Bank & Trust Company, TIB The Independent Bankersbank, Johnson Bank, and United Bankers’ Bank.

“It is good news that community bank investment program income continues to grow,” said Michael Anderson, first vice president of financial institutions/mergers and acquisitions at Securities America, the sponsor of the survey, in a press release.

The report identifies community banks as those institutions with $4 billion in assets or less.

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