After recording strong earnings over the last year, Mission Bancorp has approved a 5 percent stock dividend to be applied to shareholders as of May 22, the bank said Friday.

The Bakersfield-based bank had its 72nd consecutive profitable quarter after net income rose to $1.5 million in the three months ending March 31, a 25 percent jump over the first quarter of 2016, Mission Bancorp said in a news release.

Mission's loan portfolio showed "strong growth" during the first quarter, accounting for the earnings increase, it said. Outstanding loans increased to $415.4 million, another record high. Loans increased $85.5 million, a gain of 26 percent compared to March 31 of last year.

“Mission Bank’s strong first quarter performance builds on its record-setting 2016 performance,” said A. J. Antongiovanni, Mission Bank’s president and chief executive officer, in the news release.

He attributed the success to a focus on "relationship banking" that “places a priority on providing a wide range of high-quality services to local businesses.”

Total deposits increased to $538.3 million at the end of first quarter 2017, up 12.3 percent over the same period last year., Mission said. It said total assets grew 19.7 percent over 2016’s first quarter to reach $629.9 million in 2017.

Shareholders’ equity increased $5.1 million, or 11.8 percent, to $48.6 million at the end of first quarter 2017, compared to $43.5 million on March 31, 2016, the bank said.

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