United Community Banks Inc. in Blairsville, Ga., said it secured a $30 million loan to boost its capital position.

The seven-year loan bears interest at the three-month London interbank offered rate plus 4 percentage points, the $8.3 billion-asset United Community said Friday. SunTrust Banks Inc. is the lead bank for the loan, which is prepayable at any time without penalty.

Rex S. Schuette, United Community's chief financial officer, said in an interview that it was using the $30 million loan to improve its total risk-based capital ratio 50 basis points, to 11.9%.

His company's earnings have dropped three consecutive quarters as the Atlanta area's real estate market has weakened and many of its construction and development loans have soured. It earned $7 million, or 15 cents a share, in the second quarter.

United Community also said it will distribute its quarterly dividend Oct. 1 but will preserve capital by issuing the dividend in the form of stock.

On Friday United Community's shares dropped 5.6%, to $11.76.

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