Old National profit falls, but beats predictions-WEB ONLY

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First quarter profit for Old National Bancorp fell 51 percent from the same period a year ago, but the company still managed to exceed analysts’ expectations.

The Evansville-based parent of Old National Bank this morning announced profit of $9.4 million, or 8 cents per share – beating analysts’ estimates by 2 cents.

Revenue of $107.2 million was 3.4-percent less than the same time last year.

However, CEO Bob Jones said he was upbeat about the bank’s performance. Last month, it repurchased all of the $100 million in preferred, non-voting stock it sold to the U.S. Department of Treasury after deciding it did not need federal assistance from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

And the bank completed its $15.9 million acquisition of 65 Charter One retail branches in Indiana from Providence, R.I.-based Citizens Financial Group.

Old National now has more than 180 bank branches in Indiana, making it the state’s third-largest bank in terms of retail locations.

Most of its Charter One branches are in the Indianapolis area. The majority are in stores operated by Kroger, Marsh Supermarkets, Starbucks and Wal-Mart.

As of March 31, Old National deposits totaled $5.7 billion, a jump of almost 9 percent from the end of 2008. Jones credited the Charter One acquisition for the increase.

Total Old National loans, though, declined nearly 3 percent, to $4.6 billion, in the first three months of 2009, largely due to a drop in commercial real estate lending. Old National said its cautious approach to the market contributed to the dip.

The company also cut its quarterly dividend to 7 cents a share from 23 cents, which should enable it to retain about $10 million in capital during the second quarter, it said.

Shares of Old National were fetching $14.58 in mid-morning trading, down 4 percent.

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