SAVANNAH, Ga., Jan. 28, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Savannah Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq:SAVB) reported a net loss for the fourth quarter 2010 of $1,876,000 compared to net income of $762,000 in the fourth quarter 2009. Net loss per diluted share was 26 cents in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared to net income per diluted share of 13 cents in 2009. Net loss for 2010 was $3,989,000 compared to net income of $929,000 in 2009. Net loss per diluted share was 60 cents in 2010 compared to net income per diluted share of 16 cents in 2009. The decline in 2010 earnings results primarily from a higher provision for loan losses, lower gain on sale of securities and gain on hedges, partially offset by higher net interest income. Pretax earnings before the provision for loan losses and gain/loss on sale of securities and foreclosed assets were $15,765,000 in 2010 versus $14,596,000 in 2009. Core earnings were $4,448,000 in the fourth quarter 2010 compared to $3,835,000 in 2009. Total assets increased 1.6 percent to $1.07 billion at December 31, 2010, up $16 million from $1.05 billion a year earlier. Loans totaled $827 million compared to $884 million one year earlier, a decrease of 6.5 percent. Deposits totaled $924 million and $885 million at December 31, 2010 and 2009, respectively, an increase of 4.4 percent. Shareholders' equity was $85.8 million at December 31, 2010 compared to $79.0 million at December 31, 2009. The Company's total capital to risk-weighted assets ratio was 12.29 percent at December 31, 2010, which exceeds the 10 percent required by the regulatory agencies to maintain well-capitalized status. John C. Helmken II, President and CEO, said, "In the fourth quarter, we had an opportunity to exit several nonperforming relationships and though the short term impact of those actions resulted in our quarterly loss, the actions allowed us to resolve several significant problem assets. While there seems to be a growing sentiment, both regionally and locally, that the economy has turned the corner, it is only appropriate that we move some of these nonperforming assets in the event the bottom that we are sensing is false. Additionally, as we have done throughout the year, our discipline of reappraising collateral and OREO again contributed to some of our changes to earnings."