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Peoples' earnings hit by loan losses

BILOXI — Peoples Financial Corporation, parent of The Peoples Bank, earned $3.22 million for the year, announced Chevis C. Swetman, chairman and CEO of the holding company and the bank.

Earnings for 2009 were 36 percent lower than earnings for 2008 due mainly to additions to the bank’s loan loss reserves totaling $5.225 million.

“We are enduring short-term pain to position our bank for long-term growth as we emerge from the worst recession of our lifetime,” said Swetman. “While many of our operating results are positive, we are nevertheless taking the unpleasant, difficult steps now to purge our loan portfolio of any problems,” he said.

The loan loss reserve at the end of 2009 was $7.828 million, while charge-offs and recoveries for the year totaled $9.08 million and $569,000, respectively.

Earnings per share for the year totaled $.62, compared to $.94 per average weighted share in 2008.

Loan balances at the end of 2009 totaled $465 million, essentially the same as the $467 million recorded at the end of 2008.

“Our senior management has remained vigilant in evaluating the quality of every one of our loans. We feel comfortable with the quality of our portfolio as we enter what we hope will be a slow but steady recovery phase in our national and local economies,” said Swetman. “Our historic philosophy of maintaining a strong capital base is helping our bank survive the worst financial environment we have experienced in our lifetime. At the end of 2009, our primary capital was 12.49 percent, well beyond what regulators require but consistent with the policies we have historically set for ourselves.”

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