Premier Financial Bancorp Inc. said its regulator, citing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, had rejected a request to let it pay dividends.

The Huntington, W.Va., company said in a regulatory filing Friday that it had asked permission from the Federal Reserve to pay a dividend Feb. 15. The Fed rejected the request. The $1.17 billion-asset company owes the Treasury Department a check for a dividend due in mid-November.

Premier, with $22.3 million in Tarp funding, has been operating under a written agreement with the Fed since July. The agreement instructs the company and its bank to improve credit quality.

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