Vallicorp Holdings Inc., an acquisitive central California holding company widely regarded as one of the Golden State's best recovery plays in community banks, tripped up.
Fresno-based Vallicorp said Friday its Sept. 30 nonperforming assets will jump 50% from a year earlier, to $24 million, or 2.2% of total assets.
The $1.1 billion-asset company estimated that its provision for loan losses will be increased to $5 million or $6 million in the third quarter, compared with a provision of $1.2 million in the third quarter of 1994 and $1.5 million for the first six months of 1995.
Third-quarter earnings per share, as a result, are estimated to be 1 cent to 2 cents, compared with 27 cents a year earlier.
Analysts had been apprehensive about Vallicorp's stock earlier this year, some saying its price was too speculative. But the company's announcement, with its talk of troubled real estate credits and slow business conditions, was surprising because the region is generally seen as in a slow recovery.
"We have experienced continued weakness in the local real estate markets and stagnation in general business conditions in central California," said J. Mike McGowan, chief executive. "Many of our commercial loans are collateralized by real estate, and borrowers were affected by both sluggish cash flow and lower values of property."
One analyst was perplexed by the bank's reason for the move.
"The phrasing of the rationale for the higher reserves surprised me," said Phillip L. Hage, an analyst with Van Kasper & Co. in San Francisco. "I assumed the real estate market was less weak than it had been a year ago."
Nonetheless, Mr. Hage bumped up his investment rating to "buy" from "long-term buy" because Vallicorp's stock had come down enough on the news to make it "cheap."
Mr. McGowan said the news, while "not good," must be seen in relation to the company's high capital position and strong earnings power. He said the company plans to continue its dividend policy and its expansionist strategy in the central part of the state.
"This is a current development, related to current conditions in our market," he said. "Two years ago you were seeing this type of news in Southern California, but not here. We believe in getting the news out when we have news, even if it's not good."