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Berkshire Bank's holding company improved its earnings per share during the second quarter, but a ratings agency believes the bank's earnings could trend downward during the second half of 2021.

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank’s holding company increased its earnings per share during the second quarter, but a ratings firm believes the company’s earnings are likely to trend downward for the rest of 2021.

The bank posted earnings per share of 43 cents during the three-month period that ended June 30, a 65 percent increase from the 26 cents per share reported during the first quarter. Adjusted earnings per share rose 38 percent, to 44 cents from 32 cents in the second quarter. Total net revenue increased by 3 percent year-over-year to $97 million from $95 million due to higher non-interest income resulting from increased customer activity.

Second-quarter results featured year-over-year fee income growth due to higher consumer activity, disciplined expense control, credit improvement and resumption of share repurchases that were paused in 2020.

In response to Berkshire’s second-quarter earnings, Sheen Bay Research believes the bank’s earnings will trend downward for the remainder of this year because a continued decline in the loan portfolio will likely pressurize the bottom line. It expects Berkshire to report earning of 63 cents per share during the second half of 2021, which would take full-year earnings to $1.32 per share.

The bank’s loans have now declined for four consecutive quarters. However, Sheen Bay Research also believes that small benefits from recently announced initiatives that Berkshire announced in May have strengthened the bank and will “likely support” the bottom line.

"As a result, I'm adopting a neutral rating on Berkshire Hills Bancorp," an analyst for Sheen Bay Research wrote in a statement.