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Profits Slip at Eldorado, Landmark : Banking: Holding companies blame recession, unauthorized loans by a former officer for lower earnings.


Two of Orange County's larger community bank holding companies--Eldorado Bancorp and Landmark Bancorp--on Friday posted lower profits for last year and for the fourth quarter, but cited different reasons for the downturn.

Laguna Hills-based Eldorado, which owns Eldorado Bank in Tustin, reported annual net income of $2.7 million, or $1 a share, down 23% from $3.5 million in earnings, or $1.27 a share, for 1990. Revenue fell 2.5% to $31.5 million last year from $32.3 million the previous year.

J. B. Crowell, Eldorado's president and chief executive, attributed part of the earnings drop to the recession: lower loan fees from reduced lending activity and increased provisions for possible loan losses. Earnings were also hurt, he said, by higher premiums for federal deposit insurance.

Crowell said the company added $1.2 million to its loan loss reserves, about 41% more than it normally would have set aside, to bolster its reserves because of the "uncertainties of the economic environment."

Eldorado's fourth-quarter earnings plummeted almost 50% to $382,000, or 14 cents a share, from the previous year's profit of $758,000, or 27 cents a share. Revenue, however, rose 6% to $8.6 million from $8.1 million.

Landmark, headquartered in the La Habra office of its subsidiary, Landmark Bank, posted a paltry but expected net income of $38,000 for the year, or 3 cents a share, a huge drop from its 1990 earnings of $2.1 million, or $1.39 a share. Revenue fell 5% to $19.4 million from $20.5 million the previous year.

Craig Collette, the company's president and chief executive, said earnings would have been higher than the previous year had it not been for unauthorized loans made by a loan officer, who subsequently was fired. The bank set aside $3.2 million in the fourth quarter to cover potential losses.

The unauthorized loans also caused Landmark to post a fourth-quarter loss of $1.4 million, or 87 cents a share, compared with net income of $559,000, or 37 cents a share, for 1990's final quarter. Quarterly revenue dropped 9% to $4.2 million from $4.6 million.

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