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Fulton flat, Northwest down, Integrity up in Q1

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Two midstate-based banks and another with significant operations here recently reported their earnings for the first quarter.

Fulton Financial Corp. announced earnings of 22 cents per diluted share, beating analyst estimates by 2 cents, according to Yahoo Finance.

However, the Lancaster-based company reported a net income drop from the final quarter of 2013, from about $42.1 million to $41.8 million in the first quarter of 2014, according to its earnings report. Net income did, however, rise from $39.2 million at the end of the first quarter of 2013.

The 22 cents per diluted share was flat with fourth-quarter earnings, and up from 20 cents after the first quarter of 2013.

Assets dropped slightly to $16.91 billion in the first quarter of the year from $16.93 billion at the end of 2013.

The company announced it carried through with its cost-savings plan in the last three months and consolidated 13 branches, restructured its management and changed certain benefit plans. The changes are expected to reduce the company's expenses by $8 million per year, according to the report.

Fulton Financial is the holding company for Fulton Bank of Lancaster and five other Mid-Atlantic banks. It trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol FULT.

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Northwest Bancshares Inc. of Warren announced a dip in its first-quarter earnings compared to both the first quarter and the final quarter of 2013.

The company announced net income of $14.6 million for the quarter, or 16 cents per diluted share. That's off from the fourth quarter of 2013, when net income registered at $20.4 million, or 22 cents per diluted share. It's also off from 2013's first quarter, when net income was at $15.3 million, or 17 cents per diluted share.

Analysts predicted earnings would come in at 17 cents per diluted share, according to Yahoo Finance.

President and CEO William J. Wagner said the quarter "did not meet our expectations," and he blamed the downturn period primarily on the deterioration of two unspecified commercial loans.

The loans caused the company to use $6.1 million in reserves, according to the company's earnings statement.

The company, however, declared a 13 cents quarterly dividend for shareholders. It was the 78th consecutive quarter with a dividend, according to the report, and that's on top of the special $1 dividend the company declared on April 14.

Northwest Bancshares is the holding company for Northwest Savings Bank. It has about 20 branches in the midstate and trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol NWBI.

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Integrity Bancshares Inc. of Camp Hill continued to see growth as it announced a 39 percent increase in net income compared to last year at this time.

The holding company for Integrity Bank announced net income of $2 million in the first quarter of 2014, up from $1.4 million for the first quarter of 2013.

Assets also grew to $782 million from $655 million over the same period, according to a company news release.

The company also said it plans to open a new branch on the Fruitville Pike in Lancaster County in May and plans to have two more under construction in 2015.

Integrity trades over the counter under the ticker symbol ITBC.

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