Eagle Bank reports 28 percent increase in business loans -- Gazette.Net


Bethesda-based Eagle Bancorp ran off its 19th consecutive quarter of a year-over-year increase in net income, seeing a 22 percent rise in the third quarter to almost $12 million, bank officials reported last week.

But what is even more impressive to some in the business community is Eagle Bank’s 28 percent rise in business commercial and industrial loans and emphasis on U.S. Small Business Administration lending.

SBA sales activity in the third quarter was stronger than the same period in 2012, said Ronald Paul, chairman and CEO of Eagle Bancorp, the second-largest bank based in Montgomery County after Sandy Spring Bancorp.

“We believe SBA lending will continue to be a strong part of our business,” Paul said.

Last week, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) announced that a program formed last year to pump more funds into local community banks to invest in small businesses would receive $25 million more than the $10 million it got last year. The Small Business Plus program has succeeded in helping boost loans made to small businesses, so it made sense to increase the investment, Leggett said.

Banks have to be headquartered in Montgomery County, have assets greater than $200 million and less than $5 billion, and meet certain financial soundness standards. Besides EagleBank, banks in the program include Capital Bank, Congressional Bank and OBA Bank.

Sandy Spring Bancorp, the Olney parent company of Sandy Spring Bank, increased commercial business loans by 3 percent in the third quarter from a year ago to $332.7 million. Sandy Spring, which has $1.8 billion in deposits in Montgomery County, about $200 million more than EagleBank, saw a 10 percent rise in net income to $12.1 million.

The two main categories of commercial loans that saw growth in the quarter were investment real estate and owner-occupied real estate, Daniel J. Schrider, president and CEO of Sandy Spring Bancorp, said in a conference call. “As we look forward, we have a good solid pipeline leading into the fourth quarter,” he said.