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First Financial Bankshares Q1 earnings up 15%

First Financial Bankshares has reported earnings of $13.16 million for the first quarter of 2008, a 14.8% increase, compared to $11.46 million for the same period of 2007.

The company reported that basic earnings per share increased 14.5% to $0.63 for Q1 2008, compared with $0.55 for Q1 2007.

Net interest income for the first quarter of 2008 increased 12.3% to $29.83 million, compared with $26.57 million in the same quarter of 2007. Non-interest income in the first quarter of 2008 was $12.31 million, compared with $10.92 million in the same period of 2007.

The company’s efficiency ratio in the first quarter improved to 51.86%, compared with 53.89% in the same quarter a year ago.

Scott Dueser, president and CEO of First Financial Bankshares, said: We are pleased we were able to improve our net interest margin and report another quarter of increased earnings, especially in light of the Federal Reserve Board’s dramatic reduction in interest rates and the slowing economy.

We were prepared for the Federal Reserve to reduce rates over the last six months; however, it will be difficult to compensate for future rate cuts. We will continue to work hard to maintain healthy margins and manage the company prudently and cautiously given the current economic environment.