Seacoast Commerce Banc Holdings, the parent company of Rancho Bernardo-based Seacoast Commerce Bank, reported net income of $1.6 million in the first quarter of the year, a 7.4 percent decrease compared to the same time last year when the company’s income was $1.7 million.

Seacoast had told shareholders earlier this year to expect a reduction in earnings.

The bank announced in February it had decided to retain more of the guaranteed portion of U.S. Small Business Administration loans, its primary lending driver, in its portfolio. To do so, Seacoast sold fewer of those guaranteed portions of the loans, reducing earnings, the bank said, in exchange for more predictable and consistent spread income.

The volume of guaranteed loans the bank sold in the first quarter of 2017 compared to a year ago was down 36.1 percent, from two-thirds of those loans to less than half. Over the same time, Seacoast has increased its SBA loan production by nearly 30 percent, the bank reported.

“This strategy will continue to be deployed going forward,” Seacoast said in a statement Thursday.

The bank’s assets have grown by 8.6 percent in the past year, to $572 million at the end of the first quarter of 2017.

According to the SBA, based on total dollars approved, Seacoast was the 15th largest SBA lender in the nation in the six months that ended March 31. The bank was ranked along with nearly 1,700 institutions that made at least one such loan during that time and more than 3,000 institutions approved as SBA lenders by total dollars approved. Seacoast had $118.7 million in SBA loans approved in that six-month stretch.