'2013 will be a replica of 2012': banker

With home loans recovering and profits nearly double last year's level, 1st Colonial Bank, Collingswood, is re-instating its dividend, two years after stopping payments to shareholders because "I wanted to avoid sending the wrong message" during the recession, says boss Gerard M. "Jerry" Banmiller.

The bank's 5% payout will be paid April 15 to shareholders on record April 1. Banmiller says he's paying shareholders because profits for the first nine months of 2012 have risen to $1.04 million, or 33 cents a share, from $573,000, or 18 cents a share.

What's going right? "Residential lending," Banmiller told me. "We've made a good buck making and selling residential mortgage loans. We'll finish the year half a million dollars ahead versus last year." Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, and, lately, GMAC  are busy buying loans and packaging them for investors, Banmiller says.

What about next year's prospects? "The fiscal cliff is a load of crap," he told me. President Obama is using it to "extort" higher tax rates from Repbulicans, while "continuing to mess around with the owners of capital," he said. But that won't stall the slow recovery, he added: 1st Colonial expects that "2013 will be a replica of 2012."

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