Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Cathay General Bancorp's Third Quarter 2020 Earnings Conference Call.
My name is Val. I'll be a coordinator for today.
Today's call is being recorded and will be available for replay at www.cathaygeneralbancorp.com. Now I'd like to turn the call over to Megan Cheung, Investor Relations of Cathay General Bancorp.
Thank you, Valerie, and good afternoon.
Here to discuss the financial results today are Mr. Chang Liu, our President and Chief Executive Officer, and Mr. Heng Chen, our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Before we begin, we wish to remind you that the speakers on this call may make forward-looking statements within the meaning of the applicable provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 concerning future results and events, and that these statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties are further described in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 at Item 1A in particular, and in other reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time. As such, we caution you not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statements speaks only as of the date on which it is made, and except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or review any forward-looking statements to reflect future circumstances, developments or events, or the occurrence of unanticipated events.This afternoon, Cathay General Bancorp issued an earnings release outlining its third quarter 2020 results. To obtain a copy of our earnings release, as well as well as our third quarter earnings presentation, please visit our website at www.cathaygeneralbancorp.com. After comments by management today, we will open up this call for questions.
I will now turn the call over to our President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Chang Liu.
Chang M. Liu
Thank you, Megan, and good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our 2020 third quarter earnings conference call.
While we acknowledge our third quarter operating results, our commitment and focus today is on continuing to support our clients, team members and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This afternoon, we reported net income of $56.8 million for the third quarter of 2020, a 22% decrease when compared to a net income of $72.8 million for the third quarter of 2019. Diluted earnings per share decreased 22% to $0.71 per share for the third quarter of 2020, compared to $0.91 per share for the same quarter a year ago.
In the third quarter of 2020, our gross loans decreased by $42.5 million to $15.6 billion. The decrease in loans for the third quarter of 2020 was primarily driven by a decrease of $164 million or 6% in commercial loans due to unusually high pay downs from our commercial borrowers resulting from their strong cash flows. Commercial real estate loans increased by $67.8 million or 0.9% as a result of the
Chang M. Liu
President and Chief Executive Officer
Heng W. Chen
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer
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