WILLIMANTIC — SI Financial Group Inc., the holding company of Savings Institute Bank and Trust Company, reported net income of $1.5 million, or $0.13 diluted earnings per share, for the quarter ended March 31, a year-over-year gain of nearly 63 percent.

First-quarter earnings last year were $921,000, or 7 cents per share.

Net interest income increased $751,000 to $10.2 million for the quarter ended March 31, compared with $9.4 million a year earlier.

Total assets increased $26.4 million, or 1.8 percent, to $1.51 billion, the bank reported.

The company reported that its nonperforming loans increased to $6.8 million, compared with $4.8 million on March 31, 2015, resulting in part from a delinquent loan of $1.5 million guaranteed by the federal government. Net loan charge-offs were $41,000 for the quarter, down from $49,000 in the same quarter last year.

Noninterest income increased $365,000 to $2.7 million.

Noninterest expenses increased $205,000 for the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. Higher costs included those for salaries and employee benefits, computer and electronic banking services, and outside professional services. These increaseses were offset by lower costs for occupancy and equipment, in large part as a result of “strategic initiatives to reduce branch infrastructure costs, reconfiguring and optimizing telephone and data services and lower snow removal expenditures,” the bank reported.

Commercial business loan and residential real estate loan originations decreased $6.6 million and $6.5 million, respectively, during the first quarter compared to the same period in 2015.

Total liabilities, which include deposits, increased $23.9 million, or 1.8 percent, to $1.35 billion. Deposits increased $39.1 million, or 3.7 percent, which included increases in certificates of deposit of $35.4 million, NOW and money market accounts of $8.7 million, and savings accounts of $1.7 million, offset by a decrease in noninterest-bearing demand deposits of $6.8 million.

The bank said that deposit growth remained strong because of marketing and promotional initiatives and competitively priced deposit products.

Rheo A. Brouillard, president and CEO, said, “We are very pleased that our continuing efforts to improve the company’s overall performance have resulted in substantial increases in both return on assets and earnings per share during the first three months of this year.

“This is especially gratifying during a period when bank earnings are under pressure from persistent low interest rates and increasing regulatory compliance costs,” he said.

Dividend declared

The company’s board of directors last week declared a cash dividend of 4 cents per share, to be paid on or about May 31 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on May 9.

Savings Institute Bank and Trust Co., headquartered in Willimantic, has more than 250 employees and operates 25 full-service offices in Connecticut and in Newport and Washington counties in Rhode Island. It also has a wealth management and trust services office in Windham County, Connecticut.

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