Founded in 2002, U.S. Century struggled during the recession under the weight of bad loans.
Litigation continues, filed by a group of shareholders against current and former bank directors and officers, which seeks to recover losses that allegedly were incurred because of improper actions by the directors and officers.
Meanwhile, U.S. Century just released its fourth-quarter and year-end results, which show improvement.
The bank lost $1.7 million for the fourth quarter, which included $938,000 in merger expenses and $844,000 in losses on sales of real estate owned. The results compared to a loss of $10.7 million during the same quarter of 2011.
For the full year, U.S. Century lost $10.1 million, compared to a loss of $79.7 million in 2011. The 2011 results included $70.3 million in provisions for loan losses, compared to $1.9 million in loan loss provisions in 2012.
During 2012, $134 million in non-performing loans were resolved or sold. All directors’ and former directors’ loans are up to date in payments and have not incurred any losses, Dávila said.
“I don’t want to judge the past, either right or wrong,” he said. “What is done is done. The former directors have cooperated. All the loans are up to date. We haven’t incurred losses and don’t expect to incur losses in the future.”
U.S. Century has also worked on cutting expenses and has reduced its headcount from 295 to 260 through attrition and consolidation, Dávila said.
Dávila heralded the recapitalization as an improvement over the C1 Bank purchase, as it keeps the community bank independent and allows it to retain its employees. C1 would have consolidated administrative and back-office operations in St. Petersburg, leading to layoffs at U.S. Century, he said.
Sergio Pino, a founder, former director and currently the largest shareholder said he is friends with Tate, has heard rumors about the new deal and backs it.
“The C1 deal was really not a good deal for the shareholders, but it was the right thing to do to put the institution first....” he said. “The deal with Jimmy Tate is a much better deal.”
He also prefers that it’s a local group.
“Sergio [Rok] has good banking experience — they had a bank before, and Jimmy is a great businessman,” Pino said. “They have been in this community a long time and have great relationships, and that is what a banking is about, relationships.”
Moreover, U.S. Century’s non-performing loans have been a drain on earnings, and it has not originated many new loans in the last two years, as it focused on getting rid of bad loans and reducing its risk exposure, Dávila said.
Now it will be able to start lending again, diversifying its portfolio, with an emphasis on strong borrowers and high quality loans.
“I’m highly confident that once we’ve cleaned out our $98 million, it’s a new beginning for U.S. Century,” Dávila said, “with a $1 billion bank and 24 branches in the best locations in Miami-Dade County.”