The first half of the year was mixed for the 10 Kansas-based banks with the most market share in the Wichita area.
According to data released this week from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., five of the 10 — Fidelity Bank, Southwest National Bank, Equity Bank, Rose Hill Bank and First Bank of Newton — posted higher earnings than the same period a year ago. Emprise Bank's earnings were nearly flat.
Intrust Bank, Capitol Federal Savings and Legacy Bank posted lower earnings but remained profitable.
And Olathe-based Security Savings Bank recorded a $14 million loss in the first half.
The $508 million thrift wrote off $8.5 million in the first half and reported $32.8 million in non-performing loans, according to the FDIC data.
Andrea Andersen Scarpelli, Security's Wichita market president and chief credit officer, said in an e-mail that the loss is part of the "restructuring and writing off millions of dollars of bad debt and related adjustments necessary to deal with the tainted business" she and the thrift's executive team had to take on two years ago.
"The bank was profitable in July and that is very encouraging, but we anticipate that we will have a loss in the third quarter related to asset quality," Scarpelli said.
Bankers said it has been a tough quarter and year, given the down local economy and high unemployment.
Lower bank earnings are "indicative of the broader economy," said Charlie Chandler, chairman and CEO of Intrust.
Intrust's earnings were $11.1 million in the period, down from $28.6 million in the first half of 2009.
Chandler said the continued sluggish economy and tougher environment for banks led his $3.6 billion bank to take off some questionable assets on its books, which resulted in lower earnings.
"We believe it's a good policy... to get our earnings back to where we'd like to see them, sooner rather than later," Chandler said.
Intrust's net chargeoffs for the first half of the year totaled $42 million.
Chandler said that "by doing what we've done... we have all the indications that our third-quarter earnings will be substantially improved."
But the economy hasn't prevented some banks from boosting their earnings.
Southwest National was the leader in the group for earnings in the first half, recording a pre-tax return on assets rate of 2.39 percent. Pre-tax ROA shows how much money a bank earns before taxes for each $100 it has in assets.
Trish Minard, Southwest National's CEO, said her $354 million bank didn't do anything differently in the second quarter than any other quarter.
"We have a business plan, and we stick with it," she said. "We stay in areas we understand. We haven't seen the credit quality weaknesses that some banks have."
Rocky Waitt, president of Rose Hill Bank, attributes his bank's earnings gains to the opening of a west Wichita branch a year ago. That branch contributed to a nearly 22 percent increase in deposits and a nearly 8 percent rise in loans, he said.
Rose Hill Bank had the second-highest pre-tax ROA among the group of 10 banks.
Other than the effects of a new branch, the $234 million bank has stayed with its conservative and largely retail banking focus.
"Everybody is going to make a bad loan or two, but we didn't stray from our philosophy or strategy when some maybe did."