Pine Bluff-based Simmons First National Corp. had a healthy quarter as net income rose to $6.355 million in the first quarter reporting period compared to $5.066 million one year ago.
“Obviously, we are pleased with our first quarter earnings performance,” said Simmons First CEO Tommy May. “We benefited significantly from continued pristine asset quality which has resulted in a reduction in our provision for loan losses, and our on-going efficiency initiatives that resulted in a decrease in our non-interest expense.”
May said loan demand remained troublesome, but he did note signs of improvement.
“Additionally, like the rest of the financial industry in Arkansas, we continue to experience soft loan demand as a result of the overall general economic environment. However, on a positive note, when compared to our last four quarters we see some improvement in loan demand,” May said.
“In fact, when we normalize for seasonality in the first quarter, our loan portfolio was relatively flat to our fourth quarter of 2011. Considering the challenges of the economy, we view this as a positive and it allows us to be cautiously optimistic that we are beginning to see somewhat improved loan demand. However, only time will tell and as is our philosophy, we will continue to be patient and prepared to meet the needs of the customer,” May said.