Southwest Georgia Financial CEO Reviews 2009 Performance And The State Of The Industry At Shareholders’ Annual Meeting
Southwest Georgia Financial Corporation (NYSE Amex: SGB), the parent company of Southwest Georgia Bank, a community bank serving Colquitt County, Georgia and surrounding regions, announced the results of shareholder voting that took place during the Company’s 2010 annual meeting, which was held on Tuesday, May 25.
The shareholders reelected for one-year terms to the Board of Directors Cecil H. Barber, John J. Cole, Jr., DeWitt Drew, Michael J. McLean, Richard L. Moss, Roy H. Reeves, Johnny R. Slocumb, M. Lane Wear and Marcus R. Wells.
DeWitt Drew, President and CEO of Southwest Georgia Financial, reviewed the Company’s performance in 2009 and commented on the state of the economy and the financial services industry. Mr. Drew commented, “The financial services industry continued to be impacted by the economic environment that has plagued this Nation, and in particular, the State of Georgia, for more than two years. The recession has subsided; however, there remain persistent challenges to the economy and industry in which we operate. Despite this, we performed well, recording growth of 7.5% in loans and 9.7% in deposits and posting positive earnings each quarter in 2009. For the year, we earned $1.81 million, or $0.71 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $1.28 million, or $0.50 per diluted share for 2008.”
Commenting on asset quality, Mr. Drew stated, “We continue to be cautious during these difficult economic times and are focused on improving our asset quality. Non-performing assets as a percent of total assets for 2009 was up to 1.87 percent, a trend that mirrors the industry. On an encouraging note, this level remains well below our peer group and at a level that is manageable for the Company.”Southwest Georgia Financial’s net interest margin was 4.16 percent for 2009, an improvement from 4.02% in 2008, and significantly higher than the Company’s 2009 peer group average rate of 3.31%. Mr. Drew commented, “Our growth in loans and focus on core funding has fueled the improvement in the net interest margin. We expect net interest margin to feel downward pressure due to the prospect of higher interest rates in the future. To alleviate this, in the latter part of 2009, we began to reposition our balance sheet to reduce exposure to rising interest rates. Those efforts continue, and while there may be some near-term erosion of the margin due to those efforts, in the long-run it will provide us with greater flexibility.”
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