Source: The Canadian Press

Government-owned ATB Financial reported Wednesday that its second-quarter net income dropped by $4.8 million, largely as a result of a growth in staff.

The provincial Crown corporation said income for the three months ended Sept. 30 was $38.3 million, down from $43.1 million in the comparable 2009 quarter.

Operating revenue for the quarter was $233.9 million, almost unchanged from $223.7 million in the prior-year period.

Improving interest rate spreads and a solid loan-loss picture were offset by expenses for staff growth and a reduction in other income, ATB said in a news release.

“We’re still seeing considerable strength in our loan book, which is encouraging given that the recession is not yet that far behind us,” said ATB president and CEO Dave Mowat.

“It shows that we stuck by Albertans, and did good business at the same time.”

Mowat said ATB’s interest income is increasing and that he was “pleased to see good results in our newest line of business, independent business and agriculture, where loan growth has improved quarter over quarter.”

Second-quarter profits were impacted negatively mainly by a planned increase in expenses, and a drop in other income, which was prompted mainly by an accounting adjustment that reduced the value of assets relating to ATB’s securitization program.

“Like all good and prudent Alberta businesses, we’re watching our expenses closely,” Mowat said.

“But we expected our expenses to rise on the human resources side. We’re reinvesting in staff and expertise, and it’s part of our plan to keep growing to meet the needs of more Albertans who are choosing ATB,” he said.