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Income for Idaho First Bank in first quarter

Idaho First Bank reported net income in the fourth quarter, in contrast to a loss in the year-earlier period.

Fourth-quarter net income was $71,000 compared to a $391,000 loss in the year-earlier period. McCall-based Idaho First, which fields an office in Boise, cited increased net interest income from loan growth, strong performance by its mortgage business and reduced expenses associated with covering credit losses.

The provision for loan losses, an expense that drags earnings, totaled $30,000 compared to $450,000 a year ago.

Net interest income increased from $496,000 to $630,000 while mortgage banking income rose from $255,000 to $313,000. Non-performing loans decreased from $1,871,000 to $1,048,000. Bank-owned real estate also fell, from $1,064,000 to $887,000.

Idaho First cut its full-year net loss from $1,978,000 in 2010 to $143,000 in 2011. The bank in 2011 grew loans outstanding by 21 percent and mortgage banking by 30 percent while cutting non-interest expenses by 13 percent and non-performing assets by 34 percent.

The bank benefited from a focus on managing credit reducing expenses, and from working with clients proactively, President Greg Lovell said.

Restructuring a loan to meet a borrower’s reduced cash flow is an example, he said.

More loans are in good standing thanks to continued improvement of the economy, he said.

IBR Staff

Idaho colleges shed 70 programs in sour economy

The state Board of Education says Idaho’s universities and colleges have shed more than 70 degree programs since the economic downturn began.

The Spokesman-Review reports board president Richard Westerberg told legislative budget writers Jan. 27 the schools have also eliminated a dozen minors and certificates, along with 28 professional-technical education programs. Westerberg says requests to discontinue an additional 20 degree programs are pending as Idaho’s universities and colleges look to further streamline how they operate.

While the schools have increased student fees for the past four years to help offset declines in state funding, Westerberg says the cost per credit hour has decreased from $213 in 2008 to $167 last year.

Westerberg urged the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee to invest more money into higher education as Idaho’s economy improves.

The Associated Press

California poultry farms eye Idaho sites

Idaho’s new law governing large poultry farms is generating some interest

“There have been some inquiries from facilities in California,” Idaho State Department of Agriculture Deputy Director Brian Oakey said Jan. 24. The Twin Falls area has two new poultry farms in operation and one under construction, he said. A large poultry farm is operating in Franklin County with no plan to expand. All are subject to the new law.

Idaho House and Senate agriculture committees recently approved rules for carrying out the law. The rulemaking process wrapped up last summer.

The new law clarifies for poultry companies how new poultry operations will be regulated, Oakey said.

The new Poultry Environmental Act authorizes the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to register and oversee poultry operations. It mandates practices such as using waste-management plans and taking soil samples. It also imposes a program fee, and requires permits and inspections for midsized and large poultry operations. Oversight of large poultry farms was transferred to ISDA from the state Department of Environmental Quality.

In the rulemaking process, the department defined manure as it relates to poultry and clarified best management practices to be used to reduce environmental impacts, Oakey said. The department, in response to concerns from environmental groups, added a requirement to monitor groundwater at least annually, he said.

California poultry producers have expressed interest in moving east because of increasingly strict animal welfare regulations in their state.

Brad Carlson

Allegiant Air adding Idaho Falls-Oakland route

Allegiant Air will be the second airline offering jet service from Idaho Falls to the San Francisco Bay area. The Las Vegas, N.V.-based carrier announced direct service starting in late April from Idaho Falls Regional Airport to Oakland International Airport.

Allegiant, one of three major airlines that flies to Idaho Falls, currently flies to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Mesa, Ariz., with departures and arrivals only on Sundays and Thursdays. The carrier pulled out of the Twin Falls airport last April.

United Airlines offers direct flights from Idaho Falls to the San Francisco International Airport.

 IBR Staff

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