Aquesta Bank Holdings announced that its earnings for the first quarter showed a 53 percent jump from those of the same quarter in 2017. In an announcement April 24, the Cornelius, North Carolina-based company stated that net income for Q1 of 2018 was $702,000 - $.18 per share – compared with net earnings of $460,000 - $.11 per share – a year ago.
“Our asset quality is good. What we have is a lot of growth,” said Jim Engel, Aquesta’s CEO and president, noting that the bank has seen “tremendous” growth in the Wilmington market, where it has one branch and insurance services.
Engel noted loan growth of $19.3 million in the first quarter of this year, compared with the fourth quarter of 2017. He said that commercial loans on owner-occupied business facilities are “probably the safest loans you can make, so that’s where we focus our energy.
“Wilmington tends to be dominated by a couple of things: residential [development] and commercial owner- occupied,” he continued.
Engel also touted Aquesta’s core deposit growth, which showed a quarter-over-quarter increase of $5.5 million.
Aquesta is also investing in technology and has recently launched a new platform to support its systems, Engel said.
“This has all the most recent technology, and more protections,” he explained, adding that the platform will also help streamline the bank’s lending process and add cash management features for small business customers.
Unlike most banks, Aquesta is finding its branch usage increasing every year by about 15 percent, Engel said. He attributes the rise to the bank adding new accounts at the rate of about 20 percent each year.