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Earnings strong for Peach State Bank in 2013
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Ron Quinn

Gainesville-based Peach State Bank announced last week its net earnings rose by more than $1.25 million in 2013.

Ron Quinn, president and chief executive officer said earnings rose from $472,000 at year-end 2012 to $1.73 million at Dec. 31, 2013. Those earnings generated 75 cents per share versus 20 cents per share one year earlier.

In the process, shareholder equity increased to $12.3 million, or $5.30 per share at year-end. Quinn noted that the Return on Average Assets and Return on Average Equity also rose to 1.25 percent and 15.36 percent, respectively.

“By virtually any standard, Peach State Bank achieved outstanding numbers during the past year,” Quinn said.

“The primary reason for the increase in earning is an income tax credit that had been previously reversed. And while the economic downturn has affected banks across the nation, Peach State Bank made significant headway in reducing our non-performing assets during the year.”

Quinn said a decrease in the number of foreclosed properties contributed to the bank’s ability to reduce non-performing assets from $13 million to $7.4 million in 2013.

“In our role as a true community bank, Peach State Bank invested in the lives of area families and business owners,” he said. “And during the economic downturn, we suffered to the degree our customers suffered. That being said, we have made huge strides in reducing the amount of foreclosed property being maintained on the bank’s books.”

Peach State Bank generated $4.5 million in interest income during 2013, Quinn said, compared to $4.8 million the previous year.

“We attribute this slight decline in interest income to a general reduction in loan demand and also the highly competitive rate environment,” he said. “Many individuals and business owners have been hesitant to borrow money, being uncertain of what the economy might do. But for those who are pursuing financial goals or who recognize opportunities where a loan may help them, interest rates remain favorable today.”

Quinn also said that the bank’s interest expense declined, proportionate to the drop in interest income. The expense decline was fueled by the bank paying off higher-rate Federal Home Loan Bank advances and Wholesale Certificates of nearly $7.5 million; borrowings that had “been on the books for a number of years.”

He also announced that the bank has introduced new technologies “to enhance the personal service we provide our customers.”

Quinn said that mobile banking now allows enrolled customers to access accounts and conduct transactions through their digital devices.

“Mobile banking brings a new measure of convenience to the busy lives of our customers,” he said.

In addition, Medical Lockboxes and Healthcare Revenue Management are offered to area doctors, clinics and other health care providers. With this technology, the bank is able to scan all EOBs to a secure website and checks are scanned and deposited directly into the medical office’s account. The office, meanwhile, can review all EOBs by way of the secure website. The bank also can convert paper EOBs to electronic payment files, saving the medical office time and money.

Quinn also announced that Gary Funk, Nancy Norton and John Wright have joined the bank’s Community Development Board.

“Peach State Bank is very proud of our Community Development Board and the professionals who provide their insight and thoughts on this Board,” Quinn said.

“We look forward to 2014 continuing to unfold as we exceed the expectations of our customers and serve as an active corporate citizen in Gainesville.”