By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editors BANK of the Bahamas International's ordinary shareholders suffered a minor $141,676 loss during the institution's fiscal 2012 first quarter, as timing issues related to $1.231 million in preference share dividends wiped out net income earnings. Copies of the BISX-listed bank's results for the three months to end-September 2011 showed that while net income fell only slightly by 1.6 per cent to $1.09 million, compared to $1.108 million the previous year, equity shareholders suffered a loss per share of $0.01. The comparative period for 2010 did not feature any dividend payments, hence the unfavourable year-over-year match-up. Bank of the Bahamas International's ordinary shareholders enjoyed $1.108 million in net income, or $0.07 in earnings per share (EPS), the previous year. Paul McWeeney, Bank of the Bahamas International's managing director, struck an upbeat tone in his message to shareholders, saying the institution was "encouraged" by its net income performance despite having to contend with an interest margin squeeze caused by immediately passing on the summer's 75 basis point Bahamian Prime rate cut to borrowers. And he pointed out that the net income performance came against a backdrop of high loan delinquencies and low credit demand. Mr McWeeney also noted that year-over-year net operating income grew slightly to $8.252 million, compared to the previous year's $7.774 million, while credit loss provisions fell almost by $500,000 - from $1.532 million to $1.055 million. Acknowledging that total operating expenses grew by 7.4 per cent to $7.163 million, compared to $6.667 million in the first quarter the previous year, Mr McWeeney said this was "well within expectations and forecasts" due to Bank of the Bahamas International's investments in long-term growth initiatives. And he added that the bank's risk adjusted capital ratio stood at 21.4 per cent, well above regulatory requirements. Total assets stood at $825 million, and deposits from customers and banks were at $651 million. "The bank will continue its focus on introducing new business solutions aimed at enhancing customer service convenience and efficiency, such as with the introduction of 'BOB Express', one of the fastest ABMs available, equipped with image-capturing software, a first in the Bahamas, multi-lingual and handicap friendly features," Mr McWeeney said.