Business First Bancshares, the parent company of Business First Bank, reported first-quarter earnings Tuesday of nearly $5.7 million, or 43 cents per common share, up from $3.1 million, or 30 cents a share, the company reported for the first quarter of 2018.

"In this challenging rate environment, our team has remained focused and disciplined on loan growth, margin and spread without sacrificing the bank's credit quality and underwriting standards," said Jude Melville, president and chief executive officer of the Baton Rouge-based bank. 

Baton Rouge-based Business First Bank begins trading on NASDAQ exchange

The bank, which completed the acquisition of Rayville-based Richland State Bank in late 2018, had total assets of $2.1 billion and total loans of $1.6 billion at the end of the quarter. That’s up from nearly $1.6 billion in assets and $1.2 billion in loans at the end of first-quarter 2018.

Business First has 25 branches across Louisiana and Dallas. Shares of the company closed Tuesday at $24.78, up 19 cents for the day.

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