Camden National Bank reports strong earnings

Camden National Bank reported strong earnings in its first quarter, a reflection of increased lending.

Camden National Corp. reported net income for the first quarter of 2015 of $5.6 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.75, according to a release from the company. It also reported core operating earnings of $6.3 million and diluted earnings per share $0.84 per share, representing an increase of 12 percent and $0.10 per share over the first quarter of 2014 respectively. The bank’s return on average shareholders’ equity was 10.25 percent and return on average assets was 0.91 percent.

“We’re very pleased with our financial results to start 2015,” said Gregory A. Dufour, president and chief executive officer. “Our core operating earnings and core diluted EPS grew 12 percent and 14 percent, respectively, over the same period last year, and is the result of strong loan growth seen throughout 2014 and into the first quarter of 2015.”

The bank, which has assets of $2.8 billion, trades on the Nasdaq as CAC. In March, it announced its intention to acquire The Bank of Maine, which will make Camden the largest Maine-based bank.

Pending home sales at highest level since 2013

More Americans signed contracts to buy homes in March, the third straight month of gains as housing heats up with the start of the spring buying season.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 1.1 percent to 108.6 last month. The index has climbed 11.1 percent over the past 12 months after having dipped in 2014.

The number of signed contracts are at their highest level since June 2013.

U.S. seeks criminal charges against Lumber Liquidators

The Justice Department is seeking criminal charges against Lumber Liquidators in an ongoing investigation over imported products.

The company, which has three stores in Maine, revealed the Justice Department push in a regulatory filing Wednesday while also posting a surprise loss for the quarter and announcing the departure of its chief financial officer.

The CBS news show “60 Minutes” reported in March that the company’s laminate flooring made in China contained high levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogen. According to a regulatory filing, the Justice Department is seeking charges under the Lacey Act which, among other things, bans illegally sourced wood products.

– From staff and news services