UPDATE 1-United Community posts wider-than-expected Q4 loss

* Q4 oper loss/shr $0.45 vs est loss/shr $0.42

* Provision for loan losses up 6 percent

* Oper expenses up more than 19 pct

* Says credit continues to be a major challenge

* Sees charge offs declining from current level in 2010

Jan 29 (BestGrowthStock) – United Community Banks Inc (UCBI.O: )
posted a wider-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter, hurt
by higher provision for loan losses and rise in expenses.

The bank, which has been trying to cope with rising
non-performing assets for the last few quarters due to
deterioration in Atlanta’s housing market, expects credit
challenges to persist.

“We could face more difficulty liquidating properties in
our non-Atlanta markets. We expect charge-offs to decline from
current levels, but remain elevated in 2010,” Chief Executive
Jimmy Tallent said in statement.

The company posted a net operating loss of $39.8 million,
or 45 cents per share, for the latest quarter, compared with
$46.7 million or 99 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Analysts expected the company to post a loss of 42 cents a
share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The bank saw provision for loan losses rise to $90 million,
compared with $85 million last year.

Operating expenses rose to $62.5 million from $52.4

Shares of the company closed at $4.45 Thursday on Nasdaq.

Investing Research

(Reporting by Archana Shankar in Bangalore; Editing by Anil

UPDATE 1-United Community posts wider-than-expected Q4 loss