Park National Corporation reports first quarter 2009 performance

ZANESVILLE -- Park National Corporation (Park) (NYSE Amex: PRK) announced operating results for the three months ended March 31. Net income available to common shareholders was $20.0 million, compared to $23.0 million for the same period in 2008. First quarter 2009 net income per diluted common share was $1.43, a 13.3 percent decrease from the first quarter 2008 net income per diluted common share of $1.65.

Net income figures for the first quarter of 2008 included a one-time benefit (reported in the "other income" category) of $3.1 million related to the Visa IPO. Net of taxes, this contributed $2.0 million to net income, or $0.14 to net income per diluted share for the first quarter of 2008.

Park's board of directors also declared a second quarter cash dividend of $0.94 per common share, payable on June 10, 2009, to common shareholders of record as of May 27, 2009.

"We are pleased with our first quarter performance. On March 11, 2009, we projected that net income available to common shareholders would be approximately $18 million for the first quarter and the actual results were $2 million higher," said Park Chairman, C. Daniel DeLawder.

The better-than-expected earnings for Park were largely due to a high volume of fixed rate residential mortgage loans. During the first quarter 2009, Park originated $181.6 million in fixed rate residential mortgage loans, compared to $55.6 million for the first quarter 2008. These loans are sold in the secondary market and Park maintains the servicing on these loans. The pre-tax real estate non-yield loan fee income was $5.0 million for the first quarter 2009, compared to $2.1 million for the first quarter 2008.

Headquartered in Newark, Park National Corporation holds $7.1 billion in total assets (as of March 31, 2009). Park consists of 14 community bank divisions and two specialty finance companies. Park's Ohio-based banking operations are conducted through Park subsidiary The Park National Bank and its divisions which include Fairfield National Bank, Richland Bank, Century National Bank, First-Knox National Bank, Farmers and Savings Bank, United Bank, Second National Bank, Security National Bank, Unity National Bank, Citizens National Bank and The Park National Bank of Southwest Ohio & Northern Kentucky. Park's other banking subsidiary is Vision Bank (headquartered in Panama City, Fla.), and its Vision Bank Division (of Gulf Shores, Alabama). Park also includes Scope Leasing Inc. (d.b.a. Scope Aircraft Finance) and Guardian Finance Company.