Thursday January 31, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- Berkshire Hills Bancorp, the holding company for Berkshire Bank, capped a successful 2012 by posting record core earnings for both the fourth quarter and the entire year.

The bank posted core earnings per share of $13.2 million during the fourth quarter and $44.2 million for all of 2012, according to results that Berkshire released earlier this week.

Berkshire's total assets during the fourth quarter also increased 14 percent to $5.3 billion compared to the third quarter of 2012. The bank's revenue grew 20 percent from the third quarter.

The bank's core earnings per share of 54 cents during the fourth quarter represented a 29 percent increase from the same time period in 2011, and a 4 percent jump from the third quarter of 2012.

Berkshire also reported $1.98 in core earnings per share for all of 2012, a 22 percent increase over 2011's core results of $1.54.

Berkshire Bank President and CEO Michael P. Daly said the success of the bank's business initiatives led to its growth in 2012. Beside posting record core earnings, Daly said Berkshire also produced a double digit stock return for its shareholders last year.

"Our fourth quarter net interest margin increased and our core return on equity rose above 8 percent" to 8.2 percent, Daly said in a statement. "With these achievements, we raised our quarterly dividend to the highest level in our history."

The bank's board of directors has voted to declare a cash dividend of 18 cents per share to shareholders that will be payable on Feb.


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28.

Berkshire, which listed its stock on the New York Stock Exchange in November, has now experienced three straight years of quarterly core earnings growth.

"We expect the growth to continue in 2013," said David Gonci, Berkshire's Investor Relations Officer. "We continue to provide more services in our existing markets and our new markets."

The bank's growth has been fueled by both organic growth and acquisitions, which in the fourth quarter, including final regulatory approval of Berkshire's $132 million purchase of the Beacon Federal Bancorp of East Syracuse, N.Y. on Oct. 19.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
TDobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com
(413) 496-6224