County Bank delays financial report

Merced-based County Bank’s parent company on Tuesday delayed for a second time the reporting of its 2007 financial results, more than a week after it projected it would lose money for the year.

Capital Corp. of the West, owner of the 41-branch bank, projected last month that it will lose $4 million in 2007, a sharp drop from profit of $22.7 million in 2006.

The primary reason for the loss was the bank’s increase of loan-loss reserves, or funds set aside to cover bad loans, to $31 million for 2007, up from $400,000 in 2006, the bank reported.

Declining real estate values related to residential developer and commercial construction loans caused the bank to increase the money set aside to cover bad loans. The bank estimated the value of loans that weren’t being paid at the end of 2007 at $54 million, up sharply from $3.2 million in the third quarter.

The bank was supposed to release its 2007 fiscal year results on March 17, but sought a 15-day extension to that deadline. That deadline came Tuesday.

Thomas Smith, County Bank marketing director, said the bank intends to release its fiscal year 2007 results Wednesday.