MANATEE -- The ratings on two local banks rose slightly in a quarterly report issued Thursday by Bauer Financial.
Ratings for 1st Manatee in Parrish and Insignia Bank of Sarasota increased from 3 1/2 stars to four stars for the last quarter of 2012, the banking analyst reported.
Charles Brown, chairman and CEO of Insignia Bank, thinks the local banking industry is seeing a boost from a turnaround in residential and commercial loans.
"This (four stars) is an excellent rating as opposed to a good rating," he said. "We have grown our commercial and residential loans, which has boosted our income and capital."
Brown said he has recently seen an uptick in commercial real estate, which has been lagging.
"I received three phone calls from Realtors last week asking about getting reapprovals for clients, two with industrial property and one a strip retail center," Brown said. "We've seen further improvement in the past two months."
Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida still had the healthiest report with five stars. The lowest was still Bank of Commerce of Sarasota with zero stars.
Shaun Merriman, CEO of Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida, says improvement in consumer confidence is helping both the residential and commercial loan markets.
"The loan demand is high and the loan pipeline is improving," he said. "We are
trending up in every financial metric."
Bank of Commerce is under an FDIC consent order to increase its capital, which it has been trying to do through a stock offering. The bank has been suffering from underperforming loans issued at the height of the housing crisis. The bank's earnings have improved since 2011. Bauer's ratings are assigned on a scale of zero to five stars and are based on the overall financial picture of the bank. Thursday's ratings were based on financials from October through December 2012.Ratings of other local banks include First America Bank of Bradenton and Sabal Palm Bank of Sarasota with 3 1/2 stars.Local savings and loan ratings, also released Thursday, show three healthy institutions. Manatee Community Federal Credit Union and Sarasota Municipal Employees Credit Union both had five stars while West Coast Federal Employees Credit Union in Sarasota had four stars.