The owner of Tidelands Bank reported a nearly $6 million fourth-quarter loss and a $16.5 million deficit for 2010 as its financial results continued to suffer from the coastal real estate downturn.
In the last quarter, Mount Pleasant-based Tidelands Bancshares Inc., which has seven branches, including one in Bluffton, set aside $5.5 million to cover potential loan losses, bringing its 2010 total to $16.2 million. Those contributions offset any profits the company made from fees, investments and other income sources.
Like many coastal real estate lenders, Tidelands is still reeling from the recession and the housing meltdown.
"These are just very difficult times," said Robert E. "Chip" Coffee, bank president and chief executive officer.
Tidelands said its portfolio of seized properties and bad loans jumped 68 percent last year to $47.4 million.
Coffee said the business outlook is mixed for the markets the bank serves. In Charleston, for example, real estate values seem to be stabilizing, he said.
"In Myrtle Beach, that has not happened, so they're still going down. It's the same at Hilton Head, though values are not going down as quickly or as much as Myrtle Beach," Coffee said.
One the biggest challenges for Tidelands will be to raise money. Coffee estimated the company would require about $12 million to become reclassified as "well-capitalized." The problem, he said, is that most big investors are reluctant to inject any money into any small Southeast banks saddled with soured real estate loans.
That capital crunch will likely trigger a wave of buyouts of lenders with less than $1 billion in assets, Coffee added.
"We'll plug along. We'll survive," he said.