Updated July 2 at 5:02pm

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BANKING

BankRI profits jump 35% as parent adds services office, 50 jobs in R.I.

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PROVIDENCE – Bank Rhode Island – the local subsidiary of Brookline Bancorp Inc. – saw net income jump 35.5 percent during 2012, according to its year-end report filed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Profits were driven, in part, by the creation of a new Brookline office in Lincoln during 2012.

BankRI posted earnings of $12.27 million for the year, compared with profit of $9.05 million in 2011, the federal documents said. Total interest and non-interest income declined 0.4 percent on the year to $78 million.

“We had a terrific year in 2012,” said bank President and CEO Mark Meiklejohn. “We are very happy with the results.”

Part of the improved profit numbers for the bank were the result of 14 percent growth in commercial loans on the year, which resulted in a 4.8 percent increase in net loans and leases for the year to $1.2 billion. But BankRI also reported a significant decrease in its non-interest expense that helped improve profitability.

Meiklejohn said that the 23.6 percent drop in salaries and employee benefits expenses to $19.1 million could be explained by two significant events.

First, as a result of the bank’s merger with Brookline Bancorp closing on Jan. 1, 2012, a number of one-time payouts to departing BankRI executives were accounted for in 2011, pushing the employee costs unusually high. In addition, throughout the year a total of roughly 100 people were moved off the local bank’s payroll and onto a new corporate shared services entity that Brookline Bancorp created and located in Lincoln.

In fact, said Meiklejohn, as a result of the creation of the new office, “we’ve actually had a net increase in employment [in Rhode Island] since the merger took place, about a 15 percent increase in overall employment.” Meiklejohn went on to say that that percentage has translated into roughly 50 new full-time equivalents in Rhode Island tied to the new shared services center.

“We consolidated operations for all three of the banks in Lincoln, so that’s a good story for Rhode Island,” he added.

Meiklejohn was non-committal but optimistic that there may be more jobs coming to the Ocean State in the future.

“I think there’s a fairly good chance there will be some additional growth as we fully consolidate [operations] into that location. … We still have some mortgage underwriting done up in Massachusetts that will eventually all be consolidated into Lincoln, and I think that could result in additional headcount. But it’s kind of hard to say right now what that will be.”

bankri, bank rhode island, brookline bancorp. inc., rhode island, providence, FDIC, federal deposit insurance corporation, mark meiklejohn, shared services center

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