PremierWest reports slight profit as earnings plummet in 2008

PremierWest Bancorp today reported its 2008 earnings plummeted 95.7 percent to $648,000, or 2 cents per share, after the organization notched a record $15.102 million profit in 2007.

The Medford-based parent of PremierWest Bank said it lost $3.088 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, or 14 cents per share, while it earned $1.288 million in the final three months of 2007.

The bank said it remained "well capitalized" in regulators' eyes, with a risk-based capital ratio of 11.43 percent. However, non-performing assets climbed to $71.9 million or 4.84 percent of total assets and provision for loan losses grew to $10.1 million.

"Solid core earnings allowed us to fund higher-than-normal loan loss provisions and still report an annual profit," said Jim Ford, president and chief executive officer, in a release.

— Greg Stiles

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