PremierWest Bancorp's losses widened in the first quarter as problem loans continued to drag down results as the Medford, Ore., company.

The $1.2 billion-asset PremierWest (PRWT) reported a first-quarter loss of $4.8 million, up from its $4.1 million loss in the fourth quarter, due to higher credit resolution costs. On the bright side, total nonperforming assets fell to their lowest level since December 2008, James M. Ford, PremierWest's president and chief executive, said in a news release.

The bank's provision for loan losses totaled $3.5 million, up 17% from the fourth quarter but down 44% from a year earlier.

PremierWest said that during the quarter it settled a case with its largest nonperforming loan relationship totaling $28.7 million, which resulted in the bank receiving deeds in exchange for the dismissal of lawsuits.

The first quarter also included one-time costs of $829,000 associated with branch closures. The company had previously said that it would close nine branches and sell two others, which should save roughly $1.9 million annually.

The bank also previously said that it would save another $2.5 million annually from staff layoffs and not filling vacant positions. The staff changes should happen in the second quarter.

PremierWest's net interest income fell 7%, to $11.4 million, year over year while its noninterest income rose 45%, to $4.5 million.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.