Peoples Bancorporation Inc. lost $8.3 million in 2008, “by far the most difficult year in our Company’s history,” according to a letter to shareholders dated Feb. 26.
That compares with a $4.3 million gain in 2007. In the last three months of 2008, Peoples lost $2.8 million, compared with a gain of $693,000 during the same period the previous year.
Easley, SC-based Peoples posted a pre-tax loss of $13.4 million for the year and it more than doubled its reserves against possible loan losses from $4.3 million to $9.2 million during 2008, according to information filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
Peoples, the parent company of The Peoples National Bank, Bank of Anderson and Seneca National Bank, has seen its stock price plummet over the past year, from more than $9 a share to its current level of $1.65.
The letter to shareholders is reprinted below:
We would like to thank you for being a stockholder and supporting Peoples Bancorporation. In difficult times such as these, your support is extremely valuable to our entire organization, its employees and its directors. We want to take this opportunity to share with you our assessment of Peoples Bancorporation as it relates to these difficult economic times. With the ongoing economic recession that impacted every household in the nation, we realize that 2008 was by far the most difficult year in our Company’s history. Having earned in excess of $4 million in each of 2005, 2006, and 2007 we experienced a net loss – our
first in many years – of $8.3 million in 2008. Management has focused its efforts on generating revenue and controlling expenses with renewed vigor in response to these difficult economic times.
Please find enclosed a copy of our Consolidated Financial Highlights for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2008. It is important to realize that all three of our subsidiary banks remain “well capitalized” according to the federal government guidelines, and in this economic environment it is often stated that, “capital is king.” We have also taken proactive, conservative steps to shore up our asset quality, not the least of which was more than doubling our reserves against possible loan losses from $4.3 million to $9.2 million during 2008.
We will weather this economic storm as we have in the past, and we believe that solid, profitable, community banking has always been our niche and will remain our focus going forward. Our strategic plan has us well positioned for the future, in spite of the difficult economy that will undoubtedly persist in the near term. Last of all, we sincerely appreciate your continued support and patronage of our banks.
George B. Nalley, Jr., Chairman
R. Riggie Ridgeway, Chief Executive Officer
L. Andrew Westbrook, III, President and Chief Operating Officer