CBBC gets top ratings

CBBC/Citizens Bank of Blount County recently was notified from two national financial rating firms of CBBC’s current standing.

Bauer Financial has awarded CBBC their top rating of Five Stars, while TheStreet.Com Ratings were an A or Excellent. The Jan. 13 letter from TheStreet.Com states that fewer than 4 percent of the nation’s banks and thrifts meet these criteria. These numbers are a trend that has occurred for the great majority of the past 35 years.

As of Dec. 31, CBBC has a very strong equity capital to asset ratio of 17.08 percent, which is more than double what is required by the regulators. “We have no intentions of applying for any TARP funds being handed out by the U. S. Treasury. Our historical fundamental approach and philosophy from the inception of our Bank has been to be prepared for all types of economic conditions,” CBBC President and CEO Joe Bruce said. “In 1973,our board founded the bank with the distinct understanding that CBBC would be an independently-owned financial institution, a focus that continues 35 years later.”

Bruce said the simplistic structuring of CBBC’s bank policies and management team procedures has always placed it in a strong and sound financial position. “This enables CBBC to resolve our problems instead of asking for taxpayers monies,” Bruce said. “We have never made a sub-prime loan and did not foreclose on a single owner-occupied residential home loan in 2008.”

Bruce said the past year brought numerous challenges due to the fragmented condition of the overall economy. “Our historical approach to conditions of this nature is to confront these situations head-on and immediately,” he said.

Bruce said CBBC’s net profits for 2008 were $2,989,138, down from a record setting $5,300,000 in 2007. “This occurred primarily due to acquisition and development commercial and residential loans falling significantly in market values,” he said.

Bruce said that in some instances, borrowers were unable to handle the deficiencies. “We absorbed these deficiencies, eliminating any and all unsecured indebtedness, through our Provision for Possible Loan Losses during 2008 of near $2,500,000,” he said.

CBBC operates with 84 full-time equivalent associates serving in 12 bank locations and the Operations Center. “We will continue to make reductions in 2009, spending only on necessities without sacrificing quality service to our customers,” he said. “In other words, we must all tighten our belts and operate our business in a manner that insures profitability, even if those profits our lower than the level that we have been accustomed to.”

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