Community bank investment programs delivered strong results in the first quarter, according to a recent report from Michael White Associates, a research and consulting firm based in Radnor, Pa.

First-quarter revenue from the programs climbed 4.2% to $142 million from $136.3 million a year earlier.  It was up 1.1% from the previous quarter.

Securities brokerage hauled in most of the revenue, generating $104.9 million, or 73.9% of the total. Income from annuities brought in the remaining $37.1 million. 

According to the report, the programs generated an average of $105,794 in fee income, up 6.7% year-over-year.

Adding to the good news, the investment programs enjoyed healthy growth rates, with 534 community banks on track to earn a minimum of $250,000 in investment program revenue this year, up 8.3% from the first quarter of 2013.  Of those, 60.3% registered double-digit growth in first-quarter revenues, with 46.6% growing 20% or more.

"Programs expand through recruitment of additional financial advisors, acquisition of investment brokerage services, and organic growth through increased marketing and sales initiatives," Mike White, head of the eponymous firm, said in a statement.

North Shore Community Bank & Trust Co. in Illinois led community banks in first-quarter investment program revenue, generating $5.34 million, followed by CenterState Bank of Florida and Wisconsin's Johnson Bank with $4.56 million and $1.79 million, respectively.

The "Michael White – Securities America Report: Community Bank Investment Programs" report is based on data reported by all 6,730 commercial banks, FDIC-regulated savings banks and savings associations operating on March 31, 2014, focusing on 6,519 community banks. It is sponsored by Securities America, an independent broker-dealer.