Medford-based PremierWest's earnings fall in third quarter

Medford-based PremierWest Bancorp, parent company of PremierWest Bank, reported a third-quarter loss of $5.6 million or 22 cents per share.

PremierWest reported a $1.2 million profit for the third quarter in 2008.

The acquisition of two Wachovia Bank branches in Davis, Calif., and Grass Valley, Calif., helped push deposits up $279.3 million from the end of 2008 to $1.5 billion.

PremierWest said it sold $1.5 million of foreclosed or repossessed property in the third quarter and that it anticipates accelerated sales in the fourth quarter.

PremierWest said its principal source of credit stress continues to be real estate-related loans. Borrowers involved in real estate development or having secured loans with real estate have been vulnerable during the recession. A majority of the company's non-performing loan total of $109.4 million involves commercial or residential real estate loans. About a third of those loans were current but the borrowers appeared unable to meet their obligations, PremierWest said.

Loans were down $63.5 million from the end of 2008 to $1.20 billion at the end of September. The bank said that was primarily due to $48 million of loan charge-offs during the first nine months of the year.

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