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PremierWestBancorp sets a record for earnings

PremierWest Bancorp announced Tuesday that it surpassed its previous third-quarter earnings by a record 80.9 percent.

The parent company of PremierWest Bank recorded net income of &

36;1.089 million, or 9 cents per share, for the three months ending Sept. 30.

We've got the non-performing assets and delinquencies way down there, said John Anhorn, president and chief executive officer. We also made more in the first three quarters this year than all last year.

PremierWest Bancorp has netted &

36;3.02 million through the first nine months of 2002, after recording a &

36;2.04 million profit in all of 2001. The bank made &

36;1.85 million for the first three quarters in 2001.

The bank said robust loan and deposit growth, improved net interest margin, non-interest income as well as enhanced credit quality contributed to the stronger quarter.

The record level of earnings during the third quarter was achieved despite the additional costs associated with the opening of two new branches this year, said Rich Hieb, executive vice president and chief operating officer

Outstanding loans grew 15.4 percent over the third quarter of 2001 to &

36;389 million. Nonperforming assets declined 11 percent to &

36;5.5 million compared to &

36;6.1 million a year earlier. The nonperforming assets fell to 1.05 percent of total assets and the bank officials anticipate it will fall to 0.85 percent by the end of 2002.

Deposits grew to &

36;435.3 million from &

36;423 million a year earlier. The bank's net interest margin increased to 5.35 percent, up from 4.53 percent in the previous third quarter. Noninterest income grew 20.8 percent to &

36;1.3 million for the third quarter.

Commissions earned on transactions in brokerage services were the prime contributor.

A year ago it was in its infancy, said Tom Anderson, chief financial officer. I think that (investment services manager) Dennis Lair has worked hard to make inroads into the communities he's serving and hired key people who have established relationships.

The bank's mortgage division saw a 5.6 percent (&

36;23,000) decline in noninterest income.

The bank opened a new branch in downtown Medford in September. Hieb said the company is doing preparatory work leading to a full-service branch in the Redding, Calif., market, where it has operated a loan production office since early 2001.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail