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Earnings Rise at First Community Bancorp; Loan Portfolio Slimmer

First Community Bancorp, the holding company of Pacific Western Bank, announced first-quarter earnings April 18.

Net earnings for the quarter ending March 31 were $28.5 million, or 98 cents per diluted share, compared to earnings of $17.4 million, or 88 cents per diluted share, for the same period 2006.

Fourth-quarter 2006 earnings were $22.8 million, or 82 cents per diluted share.

Return on average assets and return on average equity both grew from the previous quarter; return on average assets was 2.1 percent from 1.7 percent and return on average equity was 9.9 percent from 8.3 percent.

Return on average assets grew from the same period 2006, from 1.9 percent, while return on average equity dropped from 12.2 percent last year.

Total loans were down $409 million from the previous period to $4 billion, primarily due to the sale of $24.7 million in Small Business Administration loans and $353 million in commercial real estate mortgages. The proceeds were used to pay down overnight borrowings.

Deposits decreased $6.7 million from fourth-quarter 2006 to $3.7 billion in the first quarter 2007.

First Community Bancorp is traded on the Nasdaq as FCBP and closed on April 18 at $56.78, down 22 cents from the previous day’s close.

, Andy Killion

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