Synovus posts third consecutive loss of $137 million

By Laurie Bernstein - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Pummeled by bad loans in the real estate sector, Synovus posted their third straight quarterly loss Wednesday.

Understandably, investors are worried about the worse than expected $136.7 million loss.

Questions even arose during Thursday's shareholders' meeting about the future viability of Georgia's second-largest bank, and the possibility of selling to a larger company.

Company CEO Richard Anthony says that won't be happening, but does acknowledge the tough circumstances.

"We are just like any other bank, we have weaknesses, but we have to perform and have to earn our way back...right now, we don't have a stock price that makes our shareholders very happy," said Anthony.

With over 6% percent of their loans near default, causing a $1.4 billion loss in the first quarter, things don't bode well for the future.

Company officials plan on getting rid of those bad assets come spring through sales or auctions, but they warn bad times are not over.

"We have to restore the company to profitability, and it probably won't happen next quarter. It's going to take time and patience, but we have the resolve as well as a plan to get there," said Anthony.

It's not going to be easy...Moody's investor service downgraded Synovus' credit rating, which will make it harder for them to borrow money.

Even though the company says they are in a good capital position to be able to survive, it's bad news for recently laid off employees hoping for their jobs back.

"I think in another 12 months we can envision building back our work force as we see growth in the economy, but it won't happen this year," said Anthony.

The sliver of good news in all of this--compared to the $637 million lost in the fourth quarter of 2008, this $137 million doesn't sound all that bad.

It's the rise in those troubled assets, or loans near delinquency, that are making all these analysts worried for the future.