updated 10/21/2010 8:46:01 AM ET 2010-10-21T12:46:01

OLNEY, Md., Oct. 21, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sandy Spring Bancorp, Inc., (Nasdaq:SASR) the parent company of Sandy Spring Bank, today announced net income available to common stockholders for the third quarter of 2010 of $6.4 million ($0.27 per diluted share) compared to a net loss available to common stockholders of $14.8 million (($0.90) per diluted share) for the third quarter of 2009 and net income available to common stockholders of $5.1 million ($0.21 per diluted share) for the second quarter of 2010. The third quarter of 2010 included a provision for loan and lease losses of $2.5 million compared to $34.5 million for the third quarter of 2009 and $6.1 million for the second quarter of 2010.

Net income available to common stockholders for the nine-month period ending September 30, 2010 totaled $10.8 million ($0.49 per diluted share) compared to a net loss available to common stockholders of $15.2 million (($0.93) per diluted share) for the prior year period. The results included a provision for loan and lease losses totaling $23.6 million for the first nine months of 2010. The results for the first nine months of 2009 included a provision for loan and lease losses of $55.7 million and an FDIC special assessment charge of $1.7 million.

"Our positive third quarter results provide us with further reason for optimism even as the economy struggles to recover from the recent recession. The experience gained during this very challenging economic period has enabled us to emerge as a stronger institution as we remain focused on the business of community banking," said Daniel J. Schrider, President and Chief Executive Officer.

"We took aggressive action early in the credit cycle to identify and resolve problem credits and this is evidenced by the continued downward trend in our non-performing commercial real estate mortgage and construction loans, in addition to commercial business loans. The provision for loan losses declined for the fourth consecutive quarter, due in large part to a continued decrease in non-performing loans. We recognize that more work remains to be done in this area, given the tenuous state of the economic recovery, and our credit team is continuing to work diligently to deal with our remaining problem credits.

"The low level of consumer and small business confidence has served to limit business expansion and new home construction as the national economy remains in neutral, with the added threat of deflation and volatile international markets. Our primary challenge is to make quality loans, and we are developing loan origination strategies that will serve our business and retail clients.

"On a further positive note, our consistent expense control and stable net interest margin continue to drive our favorable performance. We believe that emphasis on the fundamental elements of community banking will serve us well as the business climate improves," said Schrider.

Third Quarter Highlights:

  • The Company repaid $41.5 million of the $83.0 million in preferred stock issued to the U.S. Treasury under the TARP Capital Purchase Program.
  • The provision for loan and lease losses totaled $2.5 million for the quarter compared to $34.5 million for the third quarter of 2009 and $6.1 million for the second quarter of 2010.
  • Non-performing assets declined to $103.6 million compared to $150.2 million at September 30, 2009 and $118.0 million at June 30, 2010. This decrease also resulted in a coverage ratio of the allowance for loan and lease losses compared to non-performing loans of 72% compared to a ratio of 44% at September 30, 2009 and 65% at June 30, 2010.
  • Loan charge-offs, net of recoveries, totaled $6.5 million for the third quarter of 2010 compared to $29.8 million for the third quarter of 2009 and $4.3 million for the second quarter of 2010.
  • The net interest margin was 3.64% for the third quarter of 2010 compared to 3.27% for the third quarter of 2009 and 3.58% for the second quarter of 2010.
  • Non-interest expenses decreased 5% for the third quarter of 2010 compared to the third quarter of 2009 and decreased 2% compared to the second quarter of 2010.

Review of Balance Sheet and Credit Quality

Comparing September 30, 2010 balances to September 30, 2009, total assets decreased 1% to $3.6 billion. Total loans and leases decreased 6% to $2.2 billion compared to the prior year. This decrease in loans was attributable to declines in most major categories of the loan portfolio due to a lack of loan demand in weak economic conditions. Total loans decreased 2% compared to the second quarter of 2010.

Customer funding sources, which include deposits and other short-term borrowings from core customers, decreased 3% compared to the prior year and 2% compared to the second quarter of 2010. The decrease compared to the prior year was due primarily to a decline of 18% in certificates of deposit. This planned decrease was due mainly to a reduction in rates as the Company managed its net interest margin. The decline in certificate of deposit balances was substantially offset by an increase of 6% in the combined balances of noninterest-bearing deposits, traditional savings and interest-bearing checking accounts as clients sought to retain liquidity in a volatile economic environment.

Stockholders' equity totaled $451.7 million at September 30, 2010, and represented 12.5% of total assets, compared to 10.5% at September 30, 2009. At September 30, 2010 the Company had a total risk-based capital ratio of 16.56%, a tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 15.29% and a tier 1 leverage ratio of 11.15%.

The provision for loan and lease losses totaled $2.5 million for the third quarter of 2010 compared to $34.5 million for the third quarter of 2009 and $6.1 million for the second quarter of 2010. The decrease compared to both the prior year quarter and the second quarter of 2010 was primarily due to a lower level of non-performing loans. The credit risk management process has resulted in the identification of the most significant problem credits. The decrease in the provision was the direct result of these identification efforts, the early provision of loan loss reserves and the aggressive work out or charge-off of these problem credits.

Loan charge-offs, net of recoveries, totaled $6.5 million for the third quarter of 2010 compared to net charge-offs of $29.8 million for the third quarter of 2009 and net charge-offs of $4.3 million for the second quarter of 2010. The allowance for loan and lease losses represented 3.08% of outstanding loans and leases and 72% of non-performing loans at September 30, 2010 compared to 2.70% of outstanding loans and leases and 44% of non-performing loans at September 30, 2009 and 3.22% of outstanding loans and leases and 65% of non-performing loans at June 30, 2010. Non-performing loans includes loans 90 days or more past due.

Non-performing assets totaled $103.6 million at September 30, 2010 compared to $150.2 million at September 30, 2009 and $118.0 million at June 30, 2010. The decrease compared to the prior year was due primarily to a decrease in non-accrual loans, particularly in the commercial real estate mortgage and construction portfolios and the commercial business loan portfolios as a result of charge-offs and pay-downs.

Income Statement Review

Comparing the third quarters of 2010 and 2009, net interest income increased by $3.1 million, or 12%. This increase was due primarily to the decline in rates paid on deposits. This resulted in a higher net interest margin for the third quarter of 2010 of 3.64% compared to 3.27% for third quarter of 2009.

Non-interest income remained virtually level at $10.7 million for the third quarter of 2010 compared to the third quarter of 2009. Other noninterest income increased $0.7 million due largely to higher accrued gains on mortgage commitments. Trust and investment management fees increased $0.1 million or 4% while Visa check fees increased $0.1 million or 11%. These gains were largely offset by decreases of $0.3 million or 9% in service charges on deposits and gains on sales of mortgage loans which decreased $0.2 million or 10% due to lower mortgage loan origination volumes.

Non-interest expenses were $25.3 million in the third quarter of 2010 compared to $26.6 million in the third quarter of 2009, a decrease of $1.3 million or 5%. Salaries and benefits expense decreased $0.6 million or 4% due primarily to lower health plan expenses. FDIC insurance expense decreased $0.2 million or 13% due mainly to the decline in deposit balances while amortization of intangibles decreased $0.6 million or 53% due to intangibles from branch acquisitions that had fully amortized during the third quarter of 2009.

Comparing the first nine months of 2010 and 2009, net interest income increased by $10.8 million, or 14%. This increase was due primarily to the decline in rates paid on deposits which more than offset the decrease in the yield on interest earning assets. The net interest margin for the first nine months of 2010 increased to 3.59% compared to a net interest margin of 3.25% for the prior year period.

Non-interest income increased 1% to $33.9 million for the first nine months of 2010 as compared to $33.7 million in 2009. This increase was due primarily to fees on sales of investments which increased $0.4 million or 19% resulting from growth in sales of financial products. In addition, trust and investment fees increased $0.4 million or 6% due to growth in assets under management while Visa check fees increased $0.3 million or 14% due to an increased volume of electronic transactions. Other noninterest income also increased $0.7 million or 14% due to higher mark to market adjustments associated with commercial loan swaps. These increases were somewhat offset by a decline of $0.6 million or 6% in service charges on deposits due to lower commercial account analysis fees and return check charges.

Non-interest expenses were $76.6 million for the first nine months of 2010 compared to $77.7 million for the first nine months of 2009. This decrease was due primarily to a decrease of $1.6 million or 32% in FDIC insurance expense due largely to a $1.7 million one time special assessment by the FDIC in the second quarter of 2009 and a decrease in intangibles amortization of $1.7 million or 53% due to intangibles from branch acquisitions that had fully amortized during the third quarter of 2009. These decreases were partially offset by an increase of $1.6 million or 14% in other noninterest expenses due primarily to higher mark-to-market adjustments associated with commercial loan swaps.

Conference Call

The Company's management will host a conference call to discuss its third quarter results today at 2:00 P.M. (ET). A live Web cast of the conference call is available through the Investor Relations' section of the Sandy Spring Web site at www.sandyspringbank.com .  Participants may call 877-380-5664. A password is not necessary. Visitors to the Web site are advised to log on 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled start of the call. An internet-based replay will be available at the Web site until 12:00 midnight (ET) November 22, 2010. A telephone voice replay will also be available during that same time period at 800-642-1687. Please use pass code #15724091 to access.

About Sandy Spring Bancorp/Sandy Spring Bank

With $3.6 billion in assets, Sandy Spring Bancorp is the holding company for Sandy Spring Bank and its principal subsidiaries, Sandy Spring Insurance Corporation, The Equipment Leasing Company and West Financial Services, Inc. Sandy Spring Bancorp is the largest publicly traded banking company headquartered and operating in Maryland. Sandy Spring is a community banking organization that focuses its lending and other services on businesses and consumers in the local market area. Independent and community-oriented, Sandy Spring Bank was founded in 1868 and offers a broad range of commercial banking, retail banking and trust services through 43 community offices in Anne Arundel, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George's counties in Maryland, and Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia. Through its subsidiaries, Sandy Spring Bank also offers a comprehensive menu of leasing, insurance and investment management services. Visit www.sandyspringbank.com to locate an ATM near you or for more information about Sandy Spring Bank.

The Sandy Spring Bancorp, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=4138

Forward-Looking Statements

Sandy Spring Bancorp makes forward-looking statements in this news release and in the conference call regarding this news release. These forward-looking statements may include: statements of goals, intentions, earnings expectations, and other expectations; estimates of risks and of future costs and benefits; assessments of probable loan and lease losses; assessments of market risk; and statements of the ability to achieve financial and other goals.

Forward-looking statements are typically identified by words such as "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "outlook," "estimate," "forecast," "project" and other similar words and expressions. Forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties, which change over time. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Sandy Spring Bancorp does not assume any duty and does not undertake to update its forward-looking statements. Because forward-looking statements are subject to assumptions and uncertainties, actual results or future events could differ, possibly materially, from those that Sandy Spring Bancorp anticipated in its forward-looking statements, and future results could differ materially from historical performance.

Sandy Spring Bancorp's forward-looking statements are subject to the following principal risks and uncertainties: general economic conditions and trends, either nationally or locally; conditions in the securities markets; changes in interest rates; changes in deposit flows, and in the demand for deposit, loan, and investment products and other financial services; changes in real estate values; changes in the quality or composition of the Company's loan or investment portfolios; changes in competitive pressures among financial institutions or from non-financial institutions; the Company's ability to retain key members of management; changes in legislation, regulations, and policies; and a variety of other matters which, by their nature, are subject to significant uncertainties. Sandy Spring Bancorp provides greater detail regarding some of these factors in its Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009, including in the Risk Factors section of that report, and in its other SEC reports. Sandy Spring Bancorp's forward-looking statements may also be subject to other risks and uncertainties, including those that it may discuss elsewhere in this news release or in its filings with the SEC, accessible on the SEC's Web site at www.sec.gov .

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