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 News Release

For more information contact:
Dennis J. Zember Jr.
Executive Vice President & CFO
(229) 890-1111


AMERIS BANCORP REPORTS THIRD QUARTER 2009 RESULTS

October 21, 2009
AMERIS BANCORP (NASDAQ-GS: ABCB), Moultrie, Georgia, today reported a net loss available to common shareholders of $791,000, or $0.06 per diluted share, for the quarter ended September 30, 2009, compared to net income of $366,000, or $0.03 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2008.  For the year to date period ended September 30, 2009, Ameris Bancorp reported a net loss available to common shareholders of $5.4 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, compared to net income of $6.5 million, or $0.48 per diluted share, for the same period in 2008.
 
Strong Capital Levels and Balance Sheet Trends
Total assets for the Company declined during the current quarter, ending at $2.21 billion compared to $2.29 billion at the end of the second quarter of 2009.  The decrease of approximately $77.8 million was mostly attributed to planned declines in low yielding short-term assets (federal funds sold and interest bearing deposits in other banks).  These assets, yielding less than 0.25%, have declined $30.0 million or 20.8% since December 31, 2008.  Loans outstanding at September 30, 2009 were $1.65 billion, a decline of only 2.5% when compared to balances at the beginning of the year.
 
The Company’s deposit mix continued to improve in the third quarter of 2009.  Demand deposits increased during the quarter to $1.09 billion compared to $825.3 million at the beginning of 2009.  Time deposits, during the same period, have declined $400.5 million to $734.7 million as the Company’s strong liquidity position and increased levels of demand deposits have allowed for more conservative pricing on time deposits.
 
Tangible common equity as a percentage of tangible assets (excluding preferred stock) increased during the third quarter of 2009 to 5.84% compared to 5.65% at the end of the second quarter of 2009.  Lower levels of assets and improved operating results were the primary drivers behind improved capital ratios.  In addition, the Company’s shift from cash to stock dividends preserves capital while providing investors an equivalent return.  Regulatory capital at the Company’s banking subsidiary, Ameris Bank, remained very strong with Tier 1 capital and total risk-based capital of approximately 8.69% and 12.57%, respectively.

 
-1-
 

 
 
Net Interest Margin and Net Interest Income
For the third quarter of 2009, the Company reported net interest income of $18.8 million and a net interest margin of 3.65%, compared to $18.5 million and 3.59%, respectively, for the second quarter of 2009 and $19.2 million and 3.88%, respectively, for the third quarter of 2008.  Continued reduction in the Company’s cost of funds has been the principal factor in maintaining strong net interest margins despite increasing levels of non-performing assets and interest reversals on new non-accrual loans.

Yields on average earning assets during the third quarter of 2009 were affected by $1.2 million of accrued interest reversals, declining in the quarter to 5.42%, compared to 5.60% in the second quarter of 2009 and 6.39% in the third quarter of 2008.  The accrued interest reversals were more than offset by decreases in interest expense realized during the third quarter of 2009.  Interest expense fell during the third quarter of 2009 to $9.2 million compared to $10.6 million in the prior quarter and $12.9 million in the same quarter in 2008.  Decreases in average deposit costs accounted for most of the improvement, falling to 1.78% in the current quarter compared to 2.04% in the second quarter of 2009 and 2.60% in the third quarter of 2008.  The Company’s deposit mix continues to improve such that demand deposits (interest bearing and non-interest bearing) comprised 58.0% of total deposits at the end of the third quarter of 2009 compared to 44.3% of total deposits at the end of the same quarter in 2008.

Non-Interest Income
Non-interest income during the current quarter totaled $4.5 million, a decrease of 2.44% from the same quarter in 2008.  Service charges on deposit accounts were $3.5 million during the third quarter of 2009, a decline of approximately 4.02% when compared to the same quarter in 2008.  Mortgage revenue during the third quarter of 2009 totaled $692,000, compared to $745,000 during the same quarter in 2008.

Non-Interest Expense
Operating expenses totaled $15.4 million for the quarter, an increase over the same quarter in 2008 when the Company reported $14.8 million in total non-interest expense.  Salaries and benefits in the current quarter increased slightly to $7.4 million compared to $7.1 million in the third quarter of 2008.  Other operating expenses increased from $2.9 million in the third quarter of 2008 to $3.6 million in the third quarter of 2009.  This increase relates primarily to higher levels of problem loan and OREO expenses which increased to $993,000 million in the third quarter of 2009 compared to $373,000 in the same quarter of 2008.

Credit Quality
The Company’s efforts to identify and fully reserve for problem loans continued in the third quarter of 2009.  The provision for loan losses during the third quarter amounted to $8.3 million compared to $8.2 million in the same quarter in 2008.  Non-performing assets increased by $17.8 million during the most recent quarter when compared to the second quarter of 2009.  At September 30, 2009, non-performing assets as a percentage of loans and OREO increased to 6.32% compared to 5.19% at June 30, 2009 and 4.13% at December 31, 2008.  The Company’s loan loss reserve as a percentage of loans was 2.54% at the end of September 30, 2009 compared to 2.34% at December 31, 2008.  Edwin W. Hortman, Jr., President and CEO, commented on the Company’s efforts with regards to credit quality, saying “Our Company continues to work non-performing assets aggressively in this challenging economic environment, fully reserving for problem loans as we identify them.  Thankfully, our core earnings have improved at a healthy pace and allowed us to manage higher capital ratios through this downturn.”

 
Ameris Bancorp is headquartered in Moultrie, Georgia, and at the end of the most recent quarter, had 50 locations in Georgia, Alabama, northern Florida and South Carolina.
 
Ameris Bancorp Common Stock is quoted on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “ABCB”. The preceding release contains statements that constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The words “believe”, “estimate”, “expect”, “intend”, “anticipate” and similar expressions and variations thereof identify certain of such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the dates which they were made. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Readers are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
 
-2-

 
AMERIS BANCORP
 
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 
(unaudited)
 
(dollars in thousands except per share data and FTE headcount)
 
             
   
Three Months Ended
   
Nine Months Ended
 
   
   Sept.
   
   June
   
   Mar.
   
    Dec.
   
   Sept.
   
   Sept.
   
    Sept.
 
      2009       2009       2009       2008       2008       2009       2008  
                                                         
                                                         
EARNINGS
                                                       
Net Income/(Loss) Available to Common Shareholders
  $ (791 )   $ (3,359 )   $ (1,225 )   $ (10,725 )   $ 366     $ (5,375 )   $ 6,481  
                                                         
PER COMMON SHARE DATA
                                                       
Earnings per share available to common shareholders:
                                                       
Basic
  $ (0.06 )   $ (0.25 )   $ (0.09 )   $ (0.79 )   $ 0.03     $ (0.40 )     0.48  
Diluted
  $ (0.06 )   $ (0.25 )   $ (0.09 )   $ (0.79 )   $ 0.03     $ (0.40 )     0.48  
Cash Dividends per share
  $ -     $ 0.05     $ 0.05     $ 0.05     $ 0.05       0.10       0.33  
Stock dividend
 
1 for 130
      -       -       -       -       -       -  
Book value per share (period end)
  $ 13.52     $ 13.54     $ 13.90     $ 14.06     $ 14.25     $ 13.52       14.25  
Tangible book value per share (period end)
  $ 9.25     $ 9.26     $ 9.61     $ 9.74     $ 9.92     $ 9.25       9.92  
Weighted average number of shares:
                                                       
Basic
    13,503,312       13,543,468       13,527,437       13,532,521       13,515,767       13,519,395       13,508,006  
Diluted
    13,503,312       13,543,468       13,527,437       13,532,521       13,543,612       13,519,395       13,555,469  
Period-end number of shares
    13,580,985       13,581,179       13,584,107       13,534,601       13,564,032       13,580,985       13,564,032  
Market data:
                                                       
High closing price
  $ 7.47     $ 8.09     $ 11.73     $ 14.21     $ 15.07     $ 11.73     $ 16.20  
Low closing price
  $ 5.93     $ 5.29     $ 3.66     $ 7.19     $ 7.82     $ 3.66     $ 7.79  
Period end closing price
  $ 7.15     $ 6.32     $ 4.71     $ 11.85     $ 14.85     $ 7.15     $ 14.85  
Average daily volume
    30,407       28,778       31,931       31,527       43,464       29,835       55,903  
                                                         
PERFORMANCE RATIOS
                                                       
Return on average assets
    (0.14 %)     (0.59 %)     (0.21 %)     (1.81 %)     0.07 %     (0.32 %)     0.40 %
Return on average common equity
    (1.68 %)     (7.15 %)     (2.61 %)     (22.17 %)     0.78 %     (3.06 %)     4.53 %
Earning asset yield (TE)
    5.42 %     5.60 %     5.57 %     5.58 %     6.39 %     5.52 %     6.73 %
Total cost of funds
    1.83 %     2.08 %     2.45 %     2.73 %     2.55 %     2.12 %     2.86 %
Net interest margin (TE)
    3.65 %     3.59 %     3.21 %     2.94 %     3.88 %     3.47 %     3.92 %
Non-interest income excluding securities transactions,
                                                       
as a percent of total revenue (TE)
    13.89 %     13.27 %     12.02 %     11.66 %     12.51 %     13.57 %     12.97 %
Efficiency ratio
    65.83 %     76.63 %     70.01 %     80.67 %     61.97 %     70.82 %     64.86 %
                                                         
CAPITAL ADEQUACY (period end)
                                                       
Stockholders' equity to assets
    10.56 %     10.20 %     10.14 %     9.94 %     8.56 %     10.56 %     8.56 %
Tangible common equity to tangible assets
    5.84 %     5.65 %     5.71 %     5.62 %     6.12 %     5.84 %     6.12 %
                                                         
EQUITY TO ASSETS RECONCILIATION
                                                       
Tangible common equity to tangible assets
    5.84 %     5.65 %     5.71 %     5.62 %     6.12 %     5.84 %     6.12 %
Effect of preferred equity
    2.24 %     2.16 %     2.09 %     2.04 %     0.00 %     2.24 %     0.00 %
Effect of goodwill and other intangibles
    2.47 %     2.40 %     2.34 %     2.29 %     2.44 %     2.47 %     2.44 %
Equity to assets (GAAP)
    10.56 %     10.20 %     10.14 %     9.94 %     8.56 %     10.56 %     8.56 %
                                                         
OTHER PERIOD-END DATA
                                                       
FTE Headcount
    595       589       597       595       601       595       601  
Assets per FTE
  $ 3,710     $ 3,880     $ 3,930     $ 4,046     $ 3,756     $ 3,710     $ 3,756  
Branch locations
    50       50       48       50       50       50       50  
Deposits per branch location
  $ 37,751     $ 39,527     $ 42,264     $ 40,271     $ 36,127     $ 37,751     $ 36,127  


 
-3-

 

AMERIS BANCORP
 
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 
(unaudited)
 
(dollars in thousands except per share data and FTE headcount)
 
                                           
   
Three Months Ended
   
Nine Months Ended
 
   
Sept.
   
June
   
Mar.
   
Dec.
   
Sept.
   
Sept.
   
Sept.
 
   
2009
   
2009
   
2009
   
2008
   
2008
   
2009
   
2008
 
                                           
                                           
INCOME STATEMENT
                                         
                                           
Interest income
                                         
Interest and fees on loans
  $ 24,888     $ 25,829     $ 25,727     $ 26,582     $ 28,280     $ 76,444     $ 86,752  
Interest on taxable securities
    2,725       2,906       3,657       3,677       3,563       9,288       10,793  
Interest on nontaxable securities
    329       255       167       171       169       751       514  
Interest on deposits in other banks
    68       109       25       123       100       202       391  
Interest on federal funds sold
    12       1       41       5       -       54       0  
Total interest income
    28,022       29,100       29,617       30,558       32,112       86,739       98,450  
                                                         
Interest expense
                                                       
Interest on deposits
  $ 8,684     $ 10,030     $ 12,155     $ 13,769     $ 11,717     $ 30,869       38,173  
Interest on federal funds purchased and securities
                                                    0  
  sold under agreements to repurchase
                                                    0  
Interest on other borrowings
    526       531       494       817       1,218       1,551       3,584  
Total interest expense
    9,210       10,561       12,649       14,586       12,935       32,420       41,757  
                                                         
Net interest income
    18,812       18,539       16,968       15,972       19,177       54,319       56,693  
                                                         
Provision for loan losses
    8,298       9,390       7,912       19,890       8,220       25,600       15,140  
                                                         
Net interest income/(loss) after provision for loan losses
  $ 10,514     $ 9,149     $ 9,056     $ (3,918 )   $ 10,957       28,719       41,553  
                                                         
Noninterest income
                                                       
Service charges on deposit accounts
  $ 3,510     $ 3,393     $ 3,035     $ 3,279     $ 3,657     $ 9,938       10,637  
Mortgage banking activity
    692       877       763       711       745       2,332       2,469  
Other service charges, commissions and fees
    131       77       63       90       120       271       618  
Gain(loss) on sale of securities
    (20 )     101       713       316       -       794       -  
Other non-interest income
    208       148       922       (3 )     112       1,278       1,070  
Total noninterest income
    4,521       4,596       5,496       4,393       4,634       14,613       14,794  
                                                         
Noninterest expense
                                                       
Salaries and employee benefits
    7,431       7,899       7,991       7,309       7,113       23,321       24,391  
Occupancy and equipment expenses
    2,114       2,224       2,158       2,070       1,904       6,496       5,999  
Amortization of intangible assets
    146       147       146       291       293       439       879  
Data processing and telecommunications expenses
    1,746       1,704       1,627       1,600       1,678       5,077       3,557  
Business Restructuring
                                    0               0  
Advertising and marketing expenses
    301       439       574       739       818       1,314       2,352  
Other non-interest expenses
    3,622       5,316       3,231       4,419       2,950       12,169       9,185  
Total noninterest expense
    15,360       17,729       15,727       16,428       14,756       48,816       46,363  
                                                         
Operating profit/(loss)
  $ (325 )   $ (3,984 )   $ (1,175 )   $ (15,953 )   $ 835     $ (5,484 )     9,984  
                                                         
Income tax (benefit)/expense
    (198 )     (1,290 )     (539 )     (5,556 )     469       (2,027 )     3,503  
                                                         
Net income/(loss)
  $ (127 )   $ (2,694 )   $ (636 )   $ (10,397 )   $ 366     $ (3,457 )   $ 6,481  
                                                         
Preferred stock dividends
    664       665       589       328       -       1,918       -  
                                                         
Net income/(loss) available
                                                       
     to common shareholders
  $ (791 )   $ (3,359 )   $ (1,225 )   $ (10,725 )   $ 366     $ (5,375 )   $ 6,481  
                                                         
Diluted earnings available to common shareholders
    (0.06 )     (0.25 )     (0.09 )     (0.79 )     0.03       (0.40 )     0.48  



 
-4-

 

AMERIS BANCORP
 
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 
(unaudited)
 
(dollars in thousands except per share data and FTE headcount)
 
                                   
                                   
   
Three Months Ended
 
   
Sept.
   
June
   
Mar.
       
Dec.
   
Sept.
 
   
2009
   
2009
   
2009
       
2008
   
2008
 
                                   
PERIOD-END BALANCE SHEET
                                 
                                   
Assets
                                 
Cash and due from banks
  $ 43,761     $ 46,773     $ 54,758         $ 66,787     $ 43,549  
Federal funds sold and interest bearing balances
    114,335       163,343       137,770           144,383       75,458  
Investment securities available for sale, at fair value
    251,189       257,771       344,032           367,894       286,002  
Other investments
    4,441       4,441       3,914           6,839       9,836  
Loans, net of unearned income
    1,652,689       1,677,045       1,672,923           1,695,777       1,710,109  
Less allowance for loan losses
    41,946       44,998       42,417           39,652       30,144  
Loans, net
    1,610,743       1,632,047       1,630,506           1,656,125       1,679,965  
                                             
Premises and equipment, net
    67,641       67,334       65,152           66,107       65,868  
Intangible assets, net
    3,193       3,339       3,485           3,631       3,924  
Goodwill
    54,813       54,813       54,813           54,813       54,813  
Other real estate owned
    21,923       19,180       14,271           4,742       3,734  
Other assets
    35,436       36,204       37,577           35,769       34,494  
Total assets
  $ 2,207,475     $ 2,285,245     $ 2,346,278         $ 2,407,090     $ 2,257,643  
                                             
Liabilities
                                           
Deposits:
                                           
Noninterest-bearing
  $ 205,699     $ 210,456     $ 207,686         $ 208,532     $ 198,900  
Interest-bearing
    1,681,830       1,765,915       1,820,998           1,804,993       1,607,439  
Total deposits
    1,887,529       1,976,371       2,028,684           2,013,525       1,806,339  
Federal funds purchased & securities sold under
                                           
agreements to repurchase
    30,393       16,484       18,295           27,416       63,973  
Other borrowings
    7,000       7,000       7,000           72,000       138,600  
Other liabilities
    7,268       9,967       12,046           12,521       13,118  
Subordinated deferrable interest debentures
    42,269       42,269       42,269           42,269       42,269  
Total liabilities
    1,974,459       2,052,091       2,108,294           2,167,731       2,064,299  
                                             
                                             
Stockholders' equity
                                           
  Preferred stock
  $ 49,411     $ 49,279     $ 49,140         $ 49,028     $ -  
  Common stock
    14,915       14,915       14,915           14,866       14,895  
  Capital surplus
    86,432       86,286       86,141           86,038       83,453  
  Retained earnings
    86,528       87,451       91,619           93,696       105,117  
  Accumulated other comprehensive income/(loss)
    6,542       6,033       6,956           6,518       666  
  Less treasury stock
    (10,812 )     (10,810 )     (10,787 )         (10,787 )     (10,787 )
Total stockholders' equity
    233,016       233,154       237,984           239,359       193,344  
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity
  $ 2,207,475     $ 2,285,245     $ 2,346,278         $ 2,407,090     $ 2,257,643  
                                             
                                             
Other Data
                                           
Earning Assets
    2,024,442       2,099,947       2,156,513           2,209,842       2,073,357  
Intangible Assets
    58,006       58,152       58,298           58,444       58,737  
Interest Bearing Liabilities
    1,761,492       1,831,668       1,888,562           1,946,678       1,852,281  
Average Assets
    2,244,527       2,285,190       2,346,958           2,354,142       2,192,501  
Average Common Stockholders' Equity
    186,858       188,442       190,395           192,479       186,541  



 
-5-

 

AMERIS BANCORP
 
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 
(unaudited)
 
(dollars in thousands except per share data and FTE headcount)
 
                                           
                                           
   
Three Months Ended
   
Nine Months Ended
 
   
Sept.
   
June
   
Mar.
   
Dec.
   
Sept.
   
Sept.
   
Sept.
 
   
2009
   
2009
   
2009
   
2008
   
2008
   
2009
   
2008
 
                                           
ASSET QUALITY INFORMATION
                                         
                                           
Allowance for loan losses
                                         
Balance at beginning of period
  $ 44,998     $ 42,417     $ 39,652     $ 30,144     $ 28,660     $ 39,652     $ 27,640  
Provision for loan loss
    8,298       9,390       7,912       19,890       8,220       25,600       15,140  
                                                         
Charge-offs
    11,993       7,102       5,521       10,648       6,946       24,616       13,691  
Recoveries
    643       293       374       266       210       1,310       1,055  
Net charge-offs (recoveries)
    11,350       6,809       5,147       10,382       6,736       23,306       12,636  
                                                         
Ending balance
  $ 41,946     $ 44,998     $ 42,417     $ 39,652     $ 30,144     $ 41,946     $ 30,144  
                                                         
As a percentage of loans
    2.54 %     2.68 %     2.54 %     2.34 %     1.76 %     2.54 %     1.76 %
As a percentage of nonperforming loans
    49.99 %     65.35 %     66.37 %     60.62 %     76.46 %     49.99 %     76.46 %
As a percentage of nonperforming assets
    39.63 %     51.11 %     54.25 %     56.52 %     69.84 %     39.63 %     69.84 %
                                                         
                                                         
Net charge-off information
                                                       
Charge-offs
                                                       
Commercial, Financial & Agricultural
  $ 601     $ 815     $ 1,389     $ 1,090     $ 963     $ 2,805     $ 1,635  
Real Estate - Residential
    3,846       1,364       1,738       1,951       989       6,948       2,563  
Real Estate - Commercial & Farmland
    482       902       277       1,288       628       1,661       976  
Real Estate - Construction & Development
    6,871       3,731       1,930       5,932       4,165       12,532       7,789  
Consumer Installment
    193       290       187       387       201       670       728  
Other
    -       -       -       -       -       -       -  
Total charge-offs
    11,993       7,102       5,521       10,648       6,946       24,616       13,691  
                                                         
Recoveries
                                                       
Commercial, Financial & Agricultural
    64       16       82       11       71       162       203  
Real Estate - Residential
    228       216       8       30       54       452       169  
Real Estate - Commercial & Farmland
    3       13       230       10       10       246       96  
Real Estate - Construction & Development
    314       8       10       27       26       332       382  
Consumer Installment
    34       40       44       187       49       118       204  
Other
    -       -       -       1       -       -       1  
Total recoveries
    643       293       374       266       210       1,310       1,055  
                                                         
Net charge-offs (recoveries)
  $ 11,350     $ 6,809     $ 5,147     $ 10,382     $ 6,736     $ 23,306     $ 12,636  
                                                         
                                                         
                                                         
Non-accrual loans
    83,917       68,858       63,908       65,414       39,427       83,917       39,427  
Foreclosed assets
    21,923       19,180       14,271       4,742       3,734       21,923       3,734  
Accruing loans delinquent 90 days or more
    -       -       2       2       -       -       -  
Total non-performing assets
    105,840       88,038       78,181       70,158       43,161       105,840       43,161  
                                                         
Non-performing assets as a percent of loans
                                                       
and foreclosed assets
    6.32 %     5.19 %     4.63 %     4.13 %     2.52 %     6.32 %     2.52 %
Net charge offs as a percent of loans (Annualized)
    2.75 %     1.63 %     1.23 %    </