Southcoast Financial Corp. in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., reported a fourth-quarter loss of $4.8 million, or nearly five times larger than what it lost a year earlier.

The $428 million-asset company also said Monday that for 2011 it lost $16.5 million, compared with a profit of $69,000 in 2010. The year-end results included an income tax expense of $4.6 million, reflecting the full valuation allowance taken on the company's deferred tax asset in the second quarter.

Southcoast said that an increased loan-loss provision drove the losses for the quarter and the year. For the fourth quarter, the provision more than doubled from a year earlier, to $3.4 million. For 2011, it increased more than two and a half times from 2010, to $10 million.

Southcoast's net interest income for the year rose 2.5% from 2010, to $12.3 million. The company’s Southcoast Community Bank eliminated $28.8 million of wholesale deposits and repriced a significant number of deposit accounts.

"Through careful re-pricing of our deposits, we lowered interest cost by approximately 51 basis points," L. Wayne Pearson, president and chief executive, said in a press release. "Throughout 2011, we were successful in reducing the Bank's use of wholesale deposits, and added lower-cost core deposits to support our ability to continue pursuing quality lending opportunities."

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