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What: Shares of Arkansas bank Home BancShares
So what: The bank announced that its provision for loan losses in the fourth quarter will be $60 million to $65 million. That compares with $3 million last quarter, $3.9 million in the year-ago quarter, and $13.8 million for the en tire past year. The loss will hurt fourth-quarter earnings per share to the tune of $1.27 to $1.38 per share. In addition, the bank will report an additional $0.08 per-share charge from fraudulent rural improvement district bonds that it purchased. On the flip side, Home BancShares will recognize a $0.49 per-share bump during the fourth quarter from gains associated with its two Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.-assisted acquisitions.
Now what: There're no two ways about it, Home BancShares' provisions in the fourth quarter are seriously ugly. The bank said that roughly half the loans relate to a single borrowing relationship in Arkansas, and the other half to "several" borrowers in Florida, so there's some hope that these were a handful of bad-apple relationships and this level of provisioning won't continue. The bank does have healthy capital levels, so the provisions don't put it in an overly troublesome position, but investors will want to keep an eye on provisions in the coming quarters to make sure that they drop back down to previous low levels.
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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his Motley Fool CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or on his RSS feed. The Fool's disclosure policy is looking forward to a great 2011!