First Reliance shares hit new low


First Reliance Bancshares, one of SC’s fastest-growing bank companies over the past decade, continues to see its stock price dwindle, along with that of many other financial services companies across the nation.

First Reliance, the $600-million Florence-based parent of First Reliance Bank, saw its shares fall 75 cents Friday, or nearly 25 percent, to $3.01. That’s down from $10.53 a share a year ago.

First Reliance earned $625,632 in 2008, but its performance was marred by a $1.6 million loss in the fourth quarter.

Fourth-quarter earnings were hurt by a $3.2 million provision for loan losses, according to a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

In January, First Reliance was advised it had been approved for the Treasury Department’s TARP Capital Purchase Program.

First Reliance expects to receive nearly $15 million from the Treasury Department in exchange for senior preferred stock and warrants.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the quarter, according to the SEC filing.

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