Congaree Bancshares trimmed its losses by two-thirds in 2009 and cut its loan loss provisions by nearly half.

The parent of Congaree State Bank posted a deficit of $1,142,922 for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2009, compared to $3,302,939 the previous year.

The company’s provision for loan losses was $717,937, down from $1,391,090 in 2008, according to information filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Net charge offs rose to $907,840 from $254,850.

Congaree’s outlay for compensation and benefits in 2009 was less than $2.4 million, down from more than $3.1 million a year earlier, with the decrease primarily related to staff reductions.

Congaree went from having 38 fulltime employees and four part-timers at the end of 2008, to 27 fulltime employees and four part-timers at the close of last year.

Stock in Cayce-based Congaree Bancshares is trading for $2.99 a share, down from $10 a year ago.

Another “Earth Hour” has come and gone as millions of people around the world took part in the feel-good gesture of turning out their lights for one hour earlier this week.

Individuals, businesses and government officials in 4,000 cities across 125 countries turned out for Earth Hour, calling for a cleaner, safer and more secure future for the planet, according to World Wildlife Fund.

Of course, a good portion of the world doesn’t have electricity, making turning off lights a moot point for them.

But Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek is so much more eloquent in his look at Earth Hour. Here’s a letter he wrote to World Wildlife Fund President Carter Roberts:

Earlier this week your organization sponsored another worldwide “Earth Hour,” an event in which people demonstrated their commitment to the environment by turning off their lights for one hour.

In light (no pun intended) of your dark view of industrial and commercial activities, I recommend that the WWF create a special Lifetime Achievement Award for North Korea’s Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il.  As this nighttime photograph of the Korean peninsula (above) makes plain, the Dear Leader – like his father before him – works tirelessly to keep his nation’s carbon footprint to a bare minimum; in fact, if you look carefully you can see what is likely his, and only his, office light glimmering in Pyongyang.

North Koreans show their reverence for mother nature not with a mere Earth Hour but, rather, with an entire “Earth Lifetime.”  That’s true commitment!  Indeed, you might want to invite Mr. Kim to join your board.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux