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Hattiesburg bank earnings rise to $1.9 million

Hattiesburg-based First Bancshares Inc. announced on Thursday that its net earnings for the first quarter were $1.9 million, or 36 cents per share, compared with $1.3 million, or 25 cents for the corresponding quarter in 2014.

Assets grew by 4.8 percent to reach $1.1 billion as of March 31. Loans stood at $716 million, up $11.8 million in the quarter.

Nonperforming loans, those that have not received payment in 90 days or longer, decreased $200,000 for a total of $11.4 million.

Net interest income increased $1.1 million compared with a year earlier and stood at $9.1 million.

“We continue to see improved operating results across our entire footprint,” President and Chief Executive M. Ray “Hoppy” Cole said in a news release.

First Bancshares is parent of The First, which has operations in south Mississippi, Louisiana and south Alabama.

Its shares closed Thursday at $16.45 on Nasdaq Global Market, down 25 cents.

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