I am pleased to report that Community Bancorp., the parent company of Community National Bank, reported earnings for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019, of $1,771,905 or $0.34 per share compared to $1,982,543 or $0.38 per share for the first quarter of 2018. Also announced during the quarter was a quarterly cash dividend of $0.19 per common share, payable on May 1, 2019, to shareholders of record on April 15, 2019.
Total assets for the Company at the end of the quarter were $706,733,113 compared to $720,347,498 at year end 2018 and $665,971,750 at the end of the quarter a year ago. The decrease in total consolidated assets from year-end is mostly due to a decrease in cash and overnight deposits of $15.9 million which was used to offset seasonal deposit outflows of $17.8 million. Total deposit balances have increased $32.6 million, or 5.9%, year over year. The $40.7 million increase in assets, year over year, was due mostly to an increase in loans of $26.9 million during 2018 and an increase in overnight deposits of $12.1 million. At quarter-end, the loan portfolio balances remained flat from year-end 2018.
The decrease in total deposits of $17.8 million since December 31, 2018, was due primarily to the runoff of a large balance account at year-end with one municipal customer, which had been expected. The year-over-year increase in deposits of $32.7 million was largely due to increases in interest-bearing transaction accounts of $29.5 million, or 22.4%, and other time deposits of $15.6 million, or 16.6%. The increase in interest-bearing transaction accounts is due to increases in all categories, while the increase in wholesale time deposits is predominantly due to the use of brokered deposits as an alternative to short-term borrowing from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston.
Interest income increased $921,530, or 13.6%, for the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same quarter in 2018. Interest expense increased $669,791, or 77.1%, for the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same quarter in 2018. The increase in interest income is due to the higher average loan balances, which exceeded the three month comparison period by $25.0 million, or 4.5%, as well as the continued increases in short-term rates. While the increase in short-term rates is having a positive impact on interest income, it is also continuing to put upward pressure on interest rates paid on deposit accounts and other borrowings.
On March 31, 2019, the Company completed a second partial redemption of its outstanding Series A non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock. Five shares were redeemed at par, at an aggregate redemption price of $500,000, plus accrued dividends. The Company completed a similar partial redemption of five shares of its preferred stock on March 31, 2018.
As of March 31, shareholders’ equity has grown to $63.6 million with a book value per share of $11.97 compared to $58.3 million and $10.99 per share as of March 31, 2018.