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Westfield Financial Reports Q1 Results, Declares Quarterly Dividend

WESTFIELD — Westfield Financial Inc., the holding company for Westfield Bank, reported net income of $1.3 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2015, compared to $1.6 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2014. Selected financial highlights for first quarter 2015 include:

• Total loans increased $82.2 million, or 12.7%, to $730.4 million at March 31, 2015 compared to $648.2 million at March 31, 2014. This was primarily due to increases in residential loans of $38.9 million, commercial and industrial loans of $29.8 million, and commercial real-estate loans of $13.0 million. On a sequential-quarter basis, total loans increased $5.7 million, or 0.8%, from $724.7 million at Dec. 31, 2014. This was due to an increase in commercial real-estate loans of $8.7 million, offset by a decrease in commercial and industrial loans of $2.8 million, primarily due to normal loan payoffs and paydowns.

• Securities declined $26.3 million, or 4.9%, to $515.2 million at March 31, 2015, compared to $541.5 million at March 31, 2014. On a sequential-quarter basis, securities increased by $6.4 million, or 1.3%, at March 31, 2015, compared to $508.8 million at Dec. 31, 2014.

• Net interest and dividend income decreased $65,000 to $7.6 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 compared to $7.7 million for the comparable 2014 period. On a sequential-quarter basis, net interest and dividend income decreased $288,000 for the quarter ended March 31, 2015, compared to the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2014. The fourth quarter 2014 included $88,000 in deferred fee income recognized upon the payoff of a relationship.

• The bank prepaid a repurchase agreement in the amount of $10.0 million with a rate of 2.65% and incurred a pre-payment expense of $593,000 for the first quarter 2015 in order to eliminate a higher-cost liability.

• Non-interest expense was $6.7 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 and $6.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2014. On a sequential-quarter basis, non-interest expense increased by $215,000 for the quarter ended March 31, 2015, compared to $6.5 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2014. The increase on a sequential-quarter basis was due in part to an increase in salaries and benefits of $178,000. Of this amount, $51,000 is attributable to salary-related taxes, which are typically higher in the first quarter of each year.

“During the first quarter, harsh winter weather slowed economic activity, and therefore loan demand, particularly commercial construction projects,” said Westfield Bank President and CEO James Hagan. “We continue to cultivate new and existing customer relationships in Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut, and our outlook for growth remains positive for 2015. We have an experienced, disciplined, regional leadership team prepared to take advantage of continued opportunities for organic growth and expansion into demographically attractive markets.”

Hagan continued, “the customer response to our strategic initiatives has been very positive. Our Enfield branch, which opened in November 2014, and our Granby branch, which opened in June 2013, have combined deposits of over $23.0 million. We currently have both a commercial lender and a residential lender based in the Connecticut market, and we anticipate adding another commercial lender in 2015. In addition, we relocated a commercial-loan team to downtown Springfield in 2014, which provides proximity to the I-91 corridor and better access to the borrowers and centers of influence in the Greater Springfield area and Northern Connecticut. We have taken action to strategically expand our market reach, and while this initially has increased non-interest expense, we feel this will create opportunities to grow our franchise and generate higher revenue.”

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