First Bancshares Inc. in Mountain Grove, Mo., and its First Home Savings Bank have signed regulatory orders with the Office of Thrift Supervision requiring plans to improve earnings and preserve capital.

The cease-and-desist order directs the $243.3 million-asset First Bancshares to reduce adversely classified assets and loan concentrations, improve its asset-classification policy, discontinue stock repurchase programs and restrict dividend payments.

It also cannot renew, extend or revise any compensation or benefit agreement with directors or senior officers, increase total assets or brokered deposits, or enter any third-party contract without previous notification to the OTS.

First Bancshares, which has been struggling with a rise in loan trouble lately, disclosed the order Tuesday.

Lannie E. Crawford, the company's president, said in a press release that the capital ratios at its thrift unit remain higher than the regulatory definition of well capitalized.

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