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Ameris Bancorp Reports Operating Results (10-Q)

May 10, 2010 | About:
EconMatters

10qk

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Ameris Bancorp (ABCB) filed Quarterly Report for the period ended 2010-03-31.

Ameris Bancorp has a market cap of $146.23 million; its shares were traded at around $10.5 with a P/E ratio of 36.94 and P/S ratio of 0.85. The dividend yield of Ameris Bancorp stocks is 0.47%.

Highlight of Business Operations:

Ameris reported a net loss available to common shareholders of $2.3 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2010, compared to a net loss for the same quarter in 2009 of $1.3 million, or $0.10 per diluted share. The Companys return on average assets and average shareholders equity decreased in the first quarter of 2010 to (0.26%) and (4.33%), respectively, compared to (0.21%) and (1.35%) in the first quarter of 2009. The decrease in earnings and profitability during the quarter was primarily due to higher levels of loan loss provisions and costs associated with problem assets.

The Companys provision for loan losses during the first quarter of 2010 amounted to $10.8 million compared to $16.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 and to $7.9 million in the first quarter of 2009. The higher level in the provision for loan losses compared to the same quarter in 2009 reflects the trend in the level of non-performing assets, whereas the lower level compared to the fourth quarter of 2009 reflects a slowdown in problem loan formation relative to what the Company experienced in the last part of 2009. At the end of the first quarter of 2010, total non-performing assets decreased to 5.21% of total assets compared to 3.33% at March 31, 2009. Management continues to aggressively identify and resolve problem assets while seeking quality credits to grow the loan portfolio.

Net charge-offs on loans during the first quarter of 2010 increased to $12.9 million, compared to $5.1 million in the first quarter of 2009. For the quarters ended March 31, 2010 and 2009, net charge-offs annualized as a percentage of loans were 3.42% and 1.23%, respectively. The Companys allowance for loan losses at March 31, 2010 was $33.6 million, or 2.18% of total loans, compared to $42.4 million, or 2.54% of total loans, at March 31, 2009.

Total non-interest income for the first quarter of 2010 decreased slightly to $4.9 million from $5.5 million in the first quarter of 2009. The decrease in non-interest income related to lower gains on sales of securities which were $200,000 in the first quarter of 2010 as compared to $713,000 during the same period in 2009. Also during the first quarter of 2009, the Company recognized a gain of $543,000 related to the early repayment of FHLB advances. Services charges on deposit accounts increased to $3.4 million in the first quarter of 2010 compared to $3.0 million in the same quarter of 2009. Increased levels of accounts subject to service charges were the primary reason for the increase over prior year levels.

Total non-interest expenses for the first quarter of 2010 increased to $16.9 million, compared to $15.7 million at the same time in 2009. Salaries and benefits decreased 2.1% from the prior year period, primarily due to decreases in staffing as well as reduced levels of retirement benefits. Equipment and occupancy expenses for the first quarter of 2010 amounted to $2.0 million, representing a decrease of $131,000 from the same quarter in 2009. This decline in occupancy related charges was primarily due to lower levels of repairs and maintenance as well as significantly reduced new branching activities as compared to the same quarter in 2009. Increases in FDIC insurance premiums reflect the general increase in premiums experienced across the industry due to increases in bank failures. The Company prepaid three years of expected insurance premiums in 2009 totaling approximately $12.3 million. Increases in problem loan and OREO related expenses amounted to $1.3 million and were the result of increases in non-performing assets experienced since the first quarter of 2009. Other noninterest expenses in the first quarter of 2010 declined $870,000 to $2.0 million when compared to the same quarter in 2009. This decline resulted primarily from lower levels of marketing and advertising which declined from $716,000 in the first quarter of 2009 to $280,000 in the first quarter of 2010.

At March 31, 2010, gross loans outstanding were $1.54 billion, a decrease of $136.4 million, or 8.2%, compared to balances at March 31, 2009. When compared to the period ended December 31, 2009, gross loans declined approximately $47.8 million, or 3.0%. The decline in loans reflects managements focus on reducing higher risk loans within the Banks loan portfolio as well as the slower economic environment that persisted throughout 2009 and the first quarter of 2010. The Company regularly monitors the composition of the loan portfolio to evaluate the adequacy of the allowance for loan losses in light of the impact that changes in the economic env

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