Atlantic Southern Financial Group announces first-quarter results

Macon-based Atlantic Southern Financial Group announced Friday its first-quarter financial results.

Net earnings for the first quarter were $742,000, compared to $1.190 million — a 38 percent decrease — for the same period last year, according to a news release. Diluted earnings per share decreased 33 percent this quarter to 18 cents, from 27 cents a year ago.

The company’s net interest income for the first quarter was $5.4 million, compared to $6.3 million for the same period of 2008.

“The current operating environment is challenging, with continuing deterioration in our economy and historically low interest rates,” President/CEO Mark Stevens said in the release. “We are responding to this environment by preserving capital, aggressively managing the risk in our loan portfolio and increasing our focus on retail deposits.”

Atlantic closed its St. Simons Island office in December, is analyzing all non-interest expenses and has made “a strategic decision to eliminate branch and market expansion until general market conditions improve,” Stevens said.