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First Financial Northwest, Inc. Reports First Quarter Net Income of $1.8 Million or $0.14 per Diluted Share.

Renton, Washington: First Financial Northwest, Inc. (the "Company") (NASDAQ GS: FFNW), the holding company for First Financial Northwest Bank (the "Bank"), today reported net income for the quarter ended March 31, 2016, of $1.8 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, compared to net income of $2.1 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2015, and $2.2 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2015.

Changes in the recapture of the provision for loan losses contributed significantly to the differences in net income between periods. Specifically, the Company recognized a $100,000 recapture of provision for loan losses in the quarter ended March 31, 2016, compared to a recapture of $900,000 in the quarter ended December 31, 2015, and a recapture of $100,000 in the quarter ended March 31, 2015. These recaptures were due primarily to the continued credit quality improvement of the Company's loan portfolio and recoveries of amounts previously charged off.

"Late in the quarter, we accomplished a number of initiatives that we believe will positively impact our results going forward. Specifically, in the final week of the quarter, we purchased a $30.0 million pool of commercial real estate loans to supplement our loan originations, consisting of eight loans ranging in size from $1.3 million to $8.2 million secured by properties in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. We opportunistically purchase loan pools secured by properties located out of our market area that meet our investment and credit quality objectives. We also used excess cash on hand to pay down a $34 million Federal Home Loan Bank advance at its March 26, 2016, maturity date. In addition, we utilized an additional $5 million in cash to increase our investment portfolio at quarter end. All of these actions were taken in our efforts to utilize our excess cash to improve earnings in future quarters," stated Joseph W. Kiley III, President and Chief Executive Officer.

"I am also pleased to report on the success of our recent expansion efforts. Our Mill Creek office opened in September 2015 and its core deposit base increased to $10.1 million at March 31, 2016. In addition, our Edmonds office opened on March 21, 2016, and had $1.1 million in core deposits at quarter end. While we are very pleased with the design of these offices and the technology being utilized to manage expenses, our teams of experienced bankers in each office deserve the credit for these successes. We have plans to open an additional office in Renton later this year in the area known as The Landing, near the Boeing plant at the south end of Lake Washington, utilizing the same successful design elements as our Mill Creek and Edmonds offices," continued Kiley.

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Highlights for the quarter ended March 31, 2016:

We repurchased 314,087 shares of our common stock during the quarter under the share repurchase plan approved by the Board of Directors in October 2015, at an average price of $13.36 per share. From October 29, 2015 through April 27, 2016, we repurchased a total of 800,199 shares under the plan at an average price of $13.02 per share. The current share repurchase plan authorized the repurchase of 1.4 million shares through April 27, 2016.

The Company's book value per share at March 31, 2016, increased to $12.52 from $12.40 at December 31, 2015, and $12.10 at March 31, 2015.

The Bank's Tier 1 leverage and total risk-based capital ratios at March 31, 2016, were 11.8% and 16.8%, respectively, compared to 11.6% and 17.6% at December 31, 2015, and 11.6% and 18.6% at March 31, 2015.

Based on management's evaluation of the adequacy of the Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses ("ALLL"), there was a $100,000 recapture of provision for loan losses for the quarter ended March 31, 2016. The following items contributed to this recapture during the quarter:

The Company received recoveries of amounts previously charged off totaling $127,000. These recoveries, offset by charge-offs of $19,000 during the quarter, contributed to an increase in its ALLL balance.

Delinquent loans (loans over 30 days past due) increased slightly to $1.4 million at March 31, 2016, compared to $1.3 million at December 31, 2015, and $3.6 million at March 31, 2015.

Nonperforming loans totaled $1.1 million at March 31, 2016, and December 31, 2015, compared with $2.7 million at March 31, 2015.

Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans remained low at 0.14% at March 31, 2016, compared to 0.16% at December 31, 2015, and 0.39 % at March 31, 2015.

The ALLL represented 898.9% of nonperforming loans and 1.30% of total loans receivable, net of undisbursed funds, at March 31, 2016, compared to 872.2% and 1.36%, respectively, at December 31, 2015, and 392.7% and 1.54%, respectively, at March 31, 2015.

Nonperforming assets totaled $4.5 million at March 31, 2016, compared to $4.7 million at December 31, 2015, and $8.3 million at March 31, 2015. The decline in the Company's nonperforming assets between periods was due to sales and market value adjustments of Other Real Estate Owned ("OREO") along with payoffs of nonperforming loans.

OREO decreased to $3.4 million at March 31, 2016, compared to $3.7 million at December 31, 2015, and $5.6 million at March 31, 2015, as sales and write-downs of OREO exceeded transfers of properties into OREO during the quarter and the preceding 12 months. We continue to actively market our OREO properties in an effort to minimize holding costs.

In circumstances where a customer is experiencing significant financial difficulties, the Company may elect to restructure the loan so the customer can continue to make payments while minimizing the potential loss to the Company. Such restructures must often be classified as TDRs.

Net interest income for the first quarter of 2016 increased to $7.8 million, compared to $7.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2015, and $7.5 million in the first quarter of 2015, due primarily to increases in interest income.

Interest income totaled $9.6 million during the quarter ended March 31, 2016, compared to $9.5 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2015, and $9.2 million in the quarter ended March 31, 2015. These increases related primarily to growth in average balances in loans outstanding, including continued growth in higher yielding construction loans, and an increase in balances in the Bank's investment securities portfolio.

Interest expense remained steady at $1.8 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2016, and for the quarter ended December 31, 2015, and was $1.6 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2015. The increases over the March 31, 2015, quarter end levels are primarily the result of costs associated with redemptions of certain brokered certificates of deposit. Specifically, during the quarter ended December 31, 2015, we redeemed $10.0 million in callable brokered CDs and replaced them with lower rate brokered CDs with similar remaining maturity structures. Similarly, we redeemed $14.6 million in callable brokered CDs in the quarter ended March 31, 2016 and raised $14.1 million in new brokered CDs at lower rates. These redemptions require that the remaining unamortized fees relating to the original acquisition of the deposits be recognized at the time of redemption. As a result, our average cost of brokered certificates of deposit increased to 2.17% for the quarter ended March 31, 2016 from 1.87% for the quarter ended March 31, 2015. These redemptions will have a favorable impact in future periods as these redemptions were executed to decrease future interest expense on these deposits. Balances of brokered certificates of deposit were little changed between periods, totaling $65.6 million at March 31, 2016, compared to $66.2 million at December 31, 2015 and March 31, 2015.

Our net interest margin was 3.46% for the quarter ended March 31, 2016, compared to 3.33% for the quarter ended December 31, 2015, and 3.40% for the quarter ended March 31, 2015. The increase in the most recent quarter was primarily attributable to the deployment of funds out of low-yielding interest earning deposits into higher yielding loans and investment securities, including growth in multi-family loans, commercial real estate loans, and construction loans.

Noninterest income for the quarter ended March 31, 2016, totaled $480,000, compared to $384,000 in the quarter ended December 31, 2015, and $91,000 in the quarter ended March 31, 2015. The increase in the quarter ended March 31, 2016, compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2015, related to an increase in income from our wealth management services to $210,000 compared to $119,000 in the quarter ended December 31, 2015. The increase in the two most recent quarters compared to the results for the quarter ended March 31, 2015, were primarily related to income from the purchase of $20 million in Bank Owned Life Insurance ("BOLI") in April 2015, and the absence of income from wealth management services in the quarter ended March 31, 2015, as we began introducing these services to our customers in May 2015.

Noninterest expense for the quarter ended March 31, 2016, increased to $5.8 million from $5.3 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2015, and $4.3 million during the quarter ended March 31, 2015. The quarter ended March 31, 2015, included a net gain on sale of OREO property of $529,000, decreasing total non-interest expenses for that period. For the quarter ended March 31, 2016, increases in occupancy and equipment expenses related to the recent opening of new offices in Edmonds and Mill Creek, along with increased professional fees, contributed significantly to the increase in the quarter as compared to the quarters ending December 31, 2015 and March 31, 2015. Professional fees were lower in the quarter ended December 31, 2015 due to the receipt of $88,000 in legal fee reimbursements related to the payoff of a nonperforming multifamily loan during the quarter. In addition, OREO market value adjustments increased to $258,000 in the quarter ended March 31, 2016, compared to $36,000 and $50,000 for the quarters ending December 31, 2015, and March 31, 2015, respectively. This increase was primarily related to one OREO property that is currently under contract for sale. This market value adjustment was made to reflect the current market value of the property using the negotiated contract sales price.

First Financial Northwest, Inc. is the parent company of First Financial Northwest Bank; a Washington State chartered commercial bank headquartered in Renton, Washington, serving the Puget Sound Region through its three full-service banking offices. We are a part of the ABA NASDAQ Community Bank Index. For additional information about us, please visit our website at ffnwb.com and click on the "Investor Relations" link at the bottom of the page.
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Publication:Daily the Pak Banker (Lahore, Pakistan)
Article Type:Financial report
Date:May 6, 2016
Words:1846
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