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Press Release

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Community West Bancshares Reports Fourth Quarter and Year End Results

Goleta, California, February 1, 2012 - Community West Bancshares (“Community West”), (NASDAQ: CWBC), parent company of Community West Bank, today reported a loss of $8.6 million in the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2011 (4Q11) compared to net income of $1.1 million in the fourth quarter a year ago (4Q10). Quarter over quarter results were significantly impacted by a $6.7 million valuation allowance against net deferred tax assets and a loan loss provision in 4Q11 of $5.9 million as compared to $1.3 million in 4Q10. For the full year, Community West had a net loss of $10.5 million compared to net income of $2.1 million in 2010. The loan loss provision for 2011 was $14.6 million compared to $8.7 million in 2010.

“In the fourth quarter, we improved our core business by continuing to change the composition of our deposit portfolio, increasing core deposit balances, while effectively managing controllable operating expenses,” stated Martin E. Plourd, President and Chief Executive Officer. “While we are pleased with the progress in all of these areas during the quarter, the continuing high level of non-performing assets and related credit costs have adversely affected our operating results, leading us to conclude that recording a valuation allowance for the deferred tax asset was appropriate at this time. This is a timing, non-cash item, and can be recovered when the Company achieves profits which offset the tax timing differences. Improving our asset quality through aggressive management of our problem assets remains the primary focus for Community West.”

4Q11 Financial Highlights
  • Net interest margin was 4.84% in 4Q11, a 46 basis point improvement compared to 3Q11 and a 27 basis point improvement compared to 4Q10. This is primarily due to reversals of loans previously on nonaccrual.
  • Core deposits increased by 12.7% compared to a year ago, and now comprise 70.2% of total deposits.
  • Nonaccrual loans were $28.7 million, or 5.23% of total loans at December 31, 2011 compared to $36.6 million, or 6.50% of total loans at September 30, 2011.
  • The total allowance for loan losses equaled 3.24% of total loans held for investment at December 31, 2011 compared to 2.94% at September 30, 2011 and 2.60% at December 31, 2010.
  • Community West Bank’s Total risk-based capital ratio was 11.80%, Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio was 10.53% and Tier 1 leverage ratio was 8.26% at December 31, 2011.

Including $262,000 of preferred stock dividends, the net loss applicable to common stockholders was $8.8 million, or $1.47 per diluted share, in 4Q11 compared to net income applicable to common stockholders of $795,000, or $0.11 per diluted share, in 4Q10. In 2011, including $1.0 million in preferred stock dividends, the net loss applicable to common stockholders was $11.5 million, or $1.93 per diluted share, compared to net income applicable to common stockholders of $1.0 million, or $0.18 per diluted common share, in 2010.

The $6.7 million non-cash provision for deferred income taxes resulted from a valuation adjustment to net deferred tax assets. The deferred tax asset represents timing differences in the recognition of certain tax benefits for accounting and income tax purposes, including the expected value of future tax savings that will be available to Community West to offset future taxable income through the carryforward of net operating losses. In future periods, Community West may be able to reduce some or all of the valuation allowance upon a determination that it will be able to realize such tax deductions. In that event, Community West would be able to reduce its future tax liability and recognize an income tax benefit within the income statement to the extent of the tax effect of those deductions.

Credit Quality

Nonaccrual loans totaled $28.7 million, or 5.23% of total loans at December 31, 2011 compared to $36.6 million, or 6.50% of total loans at September 30, 2011 and $12.7 million, or 2.13% of total loans at December 31, 2010. Nonaccrual loans as a percentage of total common equity were 80.6% at December 31, 2011 compared to 82.6% at September 30, 2011 and 27.1% at December 31, 2010.

Of the $28.7 million in nonaccrual loans, $21.6 million, or 75.2% were real estate loans, $1.7 million, or 5.8% were SBA loans, $3.4 million, or 11.8% were manufactured housing loans, $2.0 million, or 7.1% were commercial loans and $29,000, or 0.1% were other installment loans.

Net real estate owned (REO), after subtracting the SBA guarantee, and repossessed assets totaled $5.6 million at December 31, 2011 compared to $4.8 million three months earlier and $6.8 million a year ago.

Nonaccrual loans plus net REO and repossessed assets totaled $34.3 million, or 5.41% of total assets, at year end compared to $41.4 million, or 6.44% of total assets, three months earlier and $19.4 million, or 2.91% of total assets, a year ago. Net charge-offs totaled $4.9 million in 4Q11 compared to $5.5 million in 3Q11 and $1.4 million in 4Q10.

Community West’s loan loss provision was $5.9 million in 4Q11 compared to $4.5 million in 3Q11 and $1.3 million in 4Q10. In 2011, the loan loss provision was $14.6 million compared to $8.7 million in 2010. The allowance for loan losses totaled $15.3 million at year-end, equal to 3.24% of total loans held for investment, compared to 2.94% at September 30, 2011 and 2.60% a year ago.

Income Statement Review

Net interest income was $7.3 million in 4Q11 compared to $7.4 million in 4Q10. In 2011, net interest income was $28.3 million compared to $29.3 million in 2010. Partly because Community West grew its non-interest bearing deposit account balances close to 40% during the last 12 months, its net interest margin increased 27 basis points to 4.84% in 4Q11 compared to 4Q10. In 2011, the net interest margin was 4.58% compared to 4.50% in 2010.

Due to the continued decline in loan originations and associated fees, as well as a decline in referral fees received on SBA 504 loans, non-interest income was $790,000 in 4Q11 compared to $1.2 million in 4Q10. In 2011, non-interest income was $3.1 million compared to $4.0 million in 2010.

“While charges related to losses and writedowns of foreclosed real estate and repossessed assets were lower than in the preceding quarter, they continue to remain high. We expect collection expenses and costs associated with real estate to remain elevated as we work down our inventory of nonperforming assets,” said Charles G. Baltuskonis, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Non-interest expenses were $5.3 million in 4Q11 compared to $7.0 million in 3Q11 and $5.6 million in 3Q10. In 2011, non-interest expenses were $23.2 million compared to $21.0 million in 2010.

Balance Sheet

Net loans were $532.7 million at December 31, 2011 compared to $580.6 million at December 31, 2010. Commercial real estate loans outstanding were down slightly from year ago levels to $168.8 million at December 31, 2011 and comprise 30.8% of the total loan portfolio. Manufactured housing loans were down 2.7% from year ago levels to $189.3 million and represent 34.6% of total loans. Commercial loans were down 26.7% compared to a year ago and represent 7.7% of the total loan portfolio and SBA loans decreased 13.2% from a year ago and now represent 20.4% of the total loan portfolio.

“While total deposit balances have declined, core deposit balances have increased $40.6 million year-over-year and now comprise 70.2% of total deposits,” said Baltuskonis. “We will continue to focus on growing core deposit balances while letting certain certificates of deposit run off.” Total deposits were $511.3 million at December 31, 2011 compared to $529.9 million a year earlier.

Non-interest-bearing accounts increased 39.5% to $49.9 million at December 31, 2011 compared to $35.8 million a year ago. Interest-bearing accounts increased 10.4% to $289.8 million at year-end compared to $262.4 million a year ago. Core deposits, defined as non-interest-bearing checking, interest-bearing checking, money market accounts and savings accounts, increased 12.7% to $359.1 million at December 31, 2011 compared to $318.6 million a year earlier while certificates of deposit decreased 28.0% over the year to $152.1 million compared to $211.3 million a year ago.

Total assets were $633.3 million at year-end compared to $667.6 million a year earlier. Stockholders’ equity was $50.6 million at year-end compared to $61.6 million a year earlier and book value per common share was $5.94 at year-end compared to $7.92 at the end of 2010.

Recent Developments

On January 26, 2012, the Board of Directors of the Bank signed a Consent Agreement (Agreement) with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), its primary regulator. The Agreement includes, among other things, the following requirements:
  • Achieving and maintaining a Tier 1 Leverage Capital ratio of 9% and Total Risk-Based Capital ratio of 12%;
  • Writing a 3-year strategic plan, which would incorporate the capital component;
  • Continue to improve on the Bank’s credit quality and administration thereof, including the monitoring of problem assets and the allowance for loan losses;
  • Continue to adhere to and implement the Bank’s liquidity risk management program.
“Since the appointment of our new Chief Executive Officer and Chief Credit Officer we have maintained an intense focus on addressing the areas of concern that have been raised by our regulators as part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen our operations,” said Robert Bartlein, Chairman of Community West Bank. “As a result, many of the prudent actions required in the Agreement have been addressed, or will be addressed in the near future. We will continue to work closely with the OCC to ensure that Community West Bank meets the highest standards of strength, security and performance.”

Community West Bank has made considerable progress in many of the areas and issues raised in the Agreement. To date, the Bank has:
  • Developed a strategy to enhance capital ratios for the Bank;
  • Expanded and enhanced Board membership and supervision of management, policies and objectives;
  • Developed and implemented an asset disposition plan for classified assets to reduce nonperforming loans through collection and negotiations with delinquent borrowers, and to document the improved methodology of its loan loss reserve policy. As a result nonaccrual loans were reduced 21.8% at December 31, 2011 compared to September 30, 2011;
  • Developed a plan to systematically diversify its loan portfolio;
  • Developed a plan to systematically diversify the deposit base and reduce reliance on non-core funding. As a result core deposits increased 12.7% at December 31, 2011 compared to December 31, 2010;
  • Ensured that the senior management team has the talent and expertise needed to implement this strategic realignment and determined a means to retain and recruit seasoned professionals, as necessary; and
  • Developed a plan to return the Bank to profitable operations.
“As we move forward with this Agreement, we will continue to act aggressively on our core banking strategy to strengthen our balance sheet, align our operations with the current market environment and restore the Bank to profitability,” said Martin Plourd, President and CEO. “To date, we have begun to orderly reduce our asset size to address our capital ratio requirement and have taken steps to diversify our loan portfolio in a systematic fashion. At the same time, we are continuing to increase our loan loss reserves prudently while building our core deposit base and diversifying our sources of stable funding.”

Company Profile

Community West Bancshares is a financial services company with headquarters in Goleta, California. The Company is the holding company for Community West Bank, which has five full-service California branch banking offices, in Goleta, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura and Westlake Village. The principal business activities of the Company are Relationship banking, Mortgage lending and SBA lending.

Safe Harbor

This release contains forward-looking statements that reflect management`s current views of future events and operations. These forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to the Company as of the date of this release. It is important to note that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, the ability of the Company to implement its strategy and expand its lending operations.

Contact Information

Charles G. Baltuskonis, EVP & CFO
(805) 692-5821

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