Premier Financial Bancorp Inc. of Huntington, W.Va., has received regulatory approval to resume dividend payments on its investment from the Treasury Department.

The $1.2 billion-asset company announced Monday that the Federal Reserve will allow it to pay its scheduled quarterly dividend, which was due Monday, along with the dividends it deferred the two prior quarters. The three payments totaled $834,450 plus accrued interest, the company said.

The company sold $22.25 million of cumulative preferred shares to the Treasury as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program in October 2009. Premier has been barred from making such payments without permission since July 29 when it entered into a formal agreement alongside its struggling Consolidated Bank and Trust Co. unit.

Robert W. Walker, the company's president and chief executive, said in a press release that he believes Premier Financial's request was boosted by the merger last month of five of its bank units, including Consolidated. He added that the company is hopeful that the Fed "will continue to analyze our company and determine that there is no longer any need" for the enforcement agreement.

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