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UCB reports $9.9M in profits in late 2011
United on solid footing, says Hall CEO
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United Community Bank, Georgia's third largest, had some good news for investors this week.

On Wednesday, the Blairsville-based bank announced a $9.9 million profit in the fourth quarter of 2011.

That came after reporting earlier in the month additional income taxes expenses of $156.7 million.

Dick Valentine, CEO of the Hall County division of the bank, said fourth-quarter profits were a sign of good things to come for the bank.

"We're here to stay," Valentine said. "We are profitable, we anticipate being profitable going forward, and we will continue to serve our customers in every capacity we've been serving them in the past."

The bank has five branches in Hall County.

United reassessed and restated earnings from previous quarters dating back to 2010 after federal regulators took issue with the bank's reporting on deferred tax assets.

Those are assets on the books that banks can use to reduce future tax expenses when they become profitable.

As a result, the bank revised its fourth quarter of 2010 to increase losses from $16.4 million to $173.1 million and creating a total reported loss from 2010 to $502.3 million, according to the bank's website for investors.

Valentine explained that those revised losses "do not affect regulatory capitol and will not affect in any way the day-to-day operations of the bank."

Still, the announcement of those new numbers led United Community's shares to fall in value from $11.26 per share to $6.66 per share, according to bank reports.

It also brought on an investigation from a New York law firm.

But Valentine said the bank remains on solid footing, exceeding federal regulations for capitol requirements and maintaining investor confidence. He said United is "absolutely not" in danger of failing.

"We're making money," he said. "We hope to make more money in the future as the economy strengthens, jobs are created and our customers' incomes improve."

Craig Metz, executive vice president of marketing for United Community, said a portion of the increased net losses stems from the bank's problem asset disposition plan.

In a statement, United Community Bank President and CEO Jimmy Tallant called the accounting treatment for deferred tax assets "complex and requires a great deal of judgment."

"By taking these actions, we have now resolved the SEC's concern," Tallant said.

United Community Bank has 106 offices throughout Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.