Sierra Bancorp, parent of Bank of the Sierra, had consolidated net income of $5.742 million for the quarter that ended Sept. 3o, up 46 percent from the same quarter in 2016, the company reported. The Porterville-based bank holding company, which has a branch on Citrus St. in Santa Clarita, cited three reasons for the increase: Net interest income increased by 9 percent due to a higher average balance of interest-earning assets and an improved net interest margin; non-interest income was up by 18 percent, due in large part to investment gains totaling $918,000 in the third quarter of 2017; and, non-interest expense declined by 4 percent, as higher personnel and occupancy costs were more than offset by a $1.271 million drop in non-recurring acquisition costs. For the first nine months of 2017 the Company recognized net income of $15.496 million, up 29 percent from the same period in 2016. The Company’s financial performance metrics for the first nine months of 2017 include an annualized return on average equity of 9.70 percent, a return on average assets of 1.02 percent, and diluted earnings per share of $1.11. The results were unaudited. “The third quarter was quite eventful for Bank of the Sierra, as we prepared for the acquisitions of Ojai Community Bank and the Woodlake branch while remaining focused on organic growth throughout our footprint,” stated Kevin McPhaill, president and CEO in a statement. “The Ojai Community Bank acquisition was successfully completed on October 1, and we expect that the Woodlake branch acquisition will be finalized during the first part of November,” he added. “We experienced a market-driven dip in mortgage warehouse loan balances but have achieved strong growth in real estate loans thus far in 2017, and as we near the end of our fortieth year of operation we continue to set record levels for total loan balances and deposit relationships,” McPhaill noted further. He concluded by proclaiming, “We are proud of our team’s dedication to growth and to the community banking experience, as well as the results they have achieved by working together!” Since its founding in 1977, Bank of the Sierra has grown to become the largest independent bank in the southern San Joaquin Valley, with nearly $2 billion in assets. We currently operate 39 full-service branches and a loan production office, providing a full range of retail and commercial banking services to California’s South Central Valley and neighboring communities, the Central Coast, and select Southern California locations including Ventura County and the Santa Clarita Valley.