Silicon Valley banks pumped out improved earnings in the first quarter, but their balance sheets remain challenged by borrowers’ apparent reluctance to take on debt and by tighter lending standards.
Many bankers said their earnings were helped by the relatively improved economy. The parent companies of San Jose-based Bridge Bank, Palo Alto’s Private Bank of the Peninsula and Santa Clara-based Silicon Valley Bank all reported first quarter profits in recent weeks, as did United American Bank in San Mateo.
Some lenders went from being in the red a year ago to the black this year, while others increased their earnings. Silicon Valley Bank’s parent, SVB Financial Group, said it earned $18.6 million for the quarter ending March 31, compared with an $11.8 million loss a year earlier. United American Bank earned $320,000 in the first quarter, up from a $70,000 loss the year prior.
Meanwhile, Private Bank’s parent, Peninsula Bank Holding Co., earned $429,000 in the first quarter, up 25 percent from $342,000 the year prior. And Focus Business Bank in San Jose narrowed its quarterly loss by 18 percent, to $307,000 from $374,000.