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FirstMerit reports big jump in quarterly profits

By Katie Byard
Beacon Journal business writer

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FirstMerit Corp. said Tuesday its profits jumped 58 percent for the second quarter, the first report following the bank’s acquisition of Citizens Republic Bancorp.

Akron’s FirstMerit closed on its purchase of Citizens Republic, of Flint, Mich., on April 12. FirstMerit picked up branches in Wisconsin and Michigan, adding them to operations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

FirstMerit (Nasdaq: FMER) reported second-quarter 2013 net income of $48.5 million, or $0.29 per share. That’s up from $30.6 million, or $0.28 per share, for the second quarter of 2012.

The Associated Press reported that analysts, on average, expected a profit of 31 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Shares of FirstMerit rose 63 cents to $22.30 Tuesday. Shares are up 60.2 percent since Jan. 1, including dividends, and are up 43.5 percent from a year ago.

The bank said $32.1 million of one-time pre-tax merger-related costs were included in net income for the second quarter of 2013.

“As a combined company, we are now focused on taking advantage of the many revenue growth opportunities we see across our Midwest footprint,” FirstMerit CEO Paul Greig said in a prepared statement.

FirstMerit’s total assets rose 61 percent to $23.5 billion, and total deposits increased 65 percent to $19.1 billion as of June 30.

FirstMerit paid $1.3 billion for Citizens Republic. That amount includes $355.4 million paid to the federal government — a repayment of funds related to the Michigan bank’s involvement in TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program). The program was designed to stabilize financial markets during the Great Recession.

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com.


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