Ameris Bancorp in Moultrie, Ga., has entered into a consent order with regulators tied to the Bank Secrecy Act.

The $6.4 billion-asset company said in a press release Monday that it will incur a fourth-quarter charge of roughly 10 cents a share for one-time expenses tied to the regulatory order, which involved the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and the Georgia Department of Banking.

The consent order is "the principle hurdle" that will bar Ameris from pursuing acquisitions as it nears $10 billion in assets, Edwin Hortman, Ameris' president and CEO, said in the release. "Fortunately, we have organic and non-acquisition strategies that will still deliver top-quartile growth in earnings per share and operating returns while we direct our energies toward resolving this issue," he added.

Separately, the company said it had agreed to become the exclusive provider of credit to US Premium Finance. Ameris said that US Premium has about $400 million outstanding originated loans, noting that about 92% are fully cash-secured with average durations of 10 months. The deal is expected to close on Jan. 3.

Ameris said it expects an after-tax return of about 1.4% to 1.45% on the average outstanding loans that it obtained at par from US Premium's former funding source. The bank's loans and average assets are expected to increase by about $400 million. Ameris said it expects earnings accretion of about 7% to 8% in the first year.

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