FARMINGTON — Local bank deposits surged in 2012 as businesses and consumers chose to hold on to money rather than spend it.

Deposits at Citizens Bank in Farmington jumped 9.7 percent to nearly $567 million, according to a Dec. 31 federal report.

At Four Corners Community Bank, deposits rose 1.5 percent to $168 million.

"The total deposits is important in that it shows banks are continuing to increase deposits which means individuals and to a greater extent businesses continue to hold large amounts of cash," said Jeff Howle, president of Citizens Bank. "A lot of this, according to our sources, is still driven by uncertainty in the economy — local and national — as well as continued uncertainty regarding tax implications, and business owners are being cautious."

Deposits were also up nationally at the most recent report. U.S. institutions held $9.1 trillion in the third quarter of 2012, up from $8.5 trillion a year earlier.

Citizens Bank had the largest market share in the Farmington area at 43 percent of deposits, according to an FDIC report dated June 30.

Wells Fargo Bank was second at 25 percent, and Four Corners Community Bank was third at 12 percent. They were followed by Bank of America, Vectra Bank, Washington Federal, Bank of the Southwest and First National Bank Texas.

San Juan County institutions held $1.3 billion in deposits in 2012, the fourth-most in New Mexico. Only Bernalillo, Santa Fe and Dona Ana County banks held more.

Loans remained fairly steady for both locally headquartered banks.


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Citizens Bank made $198.9 million in loans and leases, while Four Corners made $118 million in loans and leases.

Howle said loan business began to pick up around April.

"Some of it was businesses replacing equipment and also funding operations they have in other places like Texas and North Dakota while they continue to be headquartered here," he said. "Overall, we had a good year but welcome the increase in loan business."

Banks' profitability is being squeezed on several fronts. Interest rates remain very low, and their ability to charge fees has been reduced by federal regulations.

FDIC reports show local banks are receiving less income from fees.

Citizens Bank made $3.3 million from service charges on deposit accounts in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 7 percent drop from the same period a year earlier.

Four Corners Community Bank also saw a drop in service charges on deposit accounts, down 10 percent to $318,000.

Sheila Mathews, president and CEO at Four Corners, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Citizens Bank reported $10.5 million net income for the fourth quarter, while Four Corners reported $3.2 million.