United Security Bancshares Inc. in Thomasville, Ala., reported a fourth-quarter loss of $9.5 million, compared with a loss of $6.5 million a year earlier, as it recorded a $4.1 million goodwill impairment charge to reflect continued weakness in its real estate portfolio.

The $622 million-asset company also reported Friday a loss for 2011 of $9.1 million, compared with a loss of $3.2 million in 2010. The company made progress in reducing problem assets, which will be key to improving its earnings in the future, James F. House, president and chief executive, said in a news release. House joined the company in the fourth quarter after its former chief R. Terry Phillips resigned in June.

The company's net chargeoffs for the fourth quarter totaled $6.6 million, five and a half times higher than a year earlier. The provision for loan losses in the fourth quarter increased more than 10%, to $13.6 million, from a year earlier.

House said that other real estate owned declined for the fifth consecutive quarter due to real estate sales and writedowns. For 2011, OREO totaled $16.8 million, down more than 34% from a year earlier.

The bank's fourth-quarter net interest income rose almost 2%, to $9 million, from a year earlier because of lower cost of funds compared with 2010. Fourth-quarter noninterest income was $3.7 million, up 68% from a year earlier. The increase was a largely a result of a $2.1 million gain from the sale of investment securities.

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