Berkshire Bank earnings up 20 percent


PITTSFIELD -- Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc., Berkshire Bank's holding company, posted core earnings per share of 54 cents during the first quarter of 2013, a 20 percent increase over the same time period last year.

The financial institution's first-quarter earnings were a record $13.5 million, which represented a 43 percent increase over the first quarter of 2012, according to information released late Monday.

Berkshire has now entered its fourth year of consecutive core earnings growth resulting from the bank's ongoing business expansion and improved profitability. Berkshire acquired two financial institutions last year, along with mortgage operations in eastern Massachusetts.

In a statement, Berkshire Chairman and CEO Michael P. Daly said the bank achieved its "bottom line" objective during the first quarter due to the increase in core earnings per share.

"This follows the 29 percent full year increase in core earnings per share we achieved in 2012 for core EPS," Daly said.

Berkshire also experienced a 39 percent increase in net revenue compared to the first quarter of 2012, a 12 percent annualized rise in commercial loans, and a 10 percent annualized increase in average deposit balances over the fourth quarter of 2012. The bank currently has $5.2 million in assets.

The board of directors has voted to declare a cash dividend of 18 cents per share to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 16. The dividend will be payable on May 30.

The dividend equates to a 2.9 percent annualized yield based on the $24.59 average closing price of Berkshire's common stock in the first quarter of 2013.


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