Sandy Spring Bank Stock Price Doubles

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 21, 2003 | Go to article overview

Sandy Spring Bank Stock Price Doubles


Byline: Marguerite Higgins, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Like several community banks in the Washington area, Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. posted high revenue for 2002 despite the sluggish economy.

Stocks for the Olney parent company of Sandy Spring Bank have more than doubled since 2001, when the company was trading at $15 per share on the Nasdaq Composite Index, to $33.77 on Friday.

Hunter Hollar, president and chief executive officer of the company, said the rise in revenue stemmed from an increase in customer loans and deposits from individuals and small businesses.

"Relatively low interest rates helped us in the deposit factor of our business and then we also successfully expanded our non-interest income" from services such as mortgage financing and insurance along with other business investments, Mr. Hollar said.

Sandy Spring's earnings rose 45 percent for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 to $8.7 million (59 cents per diluted share) from $6 million (41 cents) a year earlier. For the year, income was up 33 percent to $30.7 million ($2.08) from $23.1 million ($1.59) in 2001.

"While the economy was sluggish in the nation, business was pretty healthy in the Baltimore and Washington area, and we saw that consistent growth in the Maryland suburbs," Mr. Hollar said.

Even with profitable returns, Henry Coffey Jr., a senior equity analyst and vice president of Ferris Baker Watts Inc., a Washington investment baking firm, said he wouldn't change his "hold" rating of the company anytime soon.

"I'm cautious about bank stocks in general because of the anxieties out there about what rising interest rates will do to the industry," Mr. …

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