Ameris Bancorp (ABCB) in Moultrie, Ga., will redeem preferred shares it had issued to the Treasury Department as part of the Trouble Asset Relief Program.
The $3 billion-asset company said Friday that it had received regulatory approval to buy up to $24 million of shares it issued to the government in November 2008.
Ameris, which received $52 million from the government as part of Tarp, said it would repurchase the shares as soon as possible to reduce dividends that it pays on those securities.
"We are pleased to start the process of retiring the Tarp preferred stock," Edwin Hortman Jr., Ameris' chief executive, said in a press release.
"This additional capital gave us flexibility during a tough economic cycle and has allowed us to execute offensive strategies and continue growing," Hortman added. "Our plans remain intact to retire all of the preferred shares before the stock's dividend rate increases, without issuing additional common shares,"
The Treasury Department sold the shares in June through a public offering, according to Ameris' latest quarterly filing with the Securities Exchange Commission. While the sale of the shares to investors left the company's capital position unchanged, it eliminated restrictions on executive compensation and Ameris' governing practices that existed when the Treasury owned the shares.
Ameris said it expects to redeem the remaining balance of the original Tarp investment between now and Feb. 2014.