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Regulators issue consent order to Ameris Bank

Without admitting or denying any related charges, Ameris Bank said that it will comply with the consent order relating to weaknesses in its Bank Secrecy Act compliance program.

The consent order, issued by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, requires the bank, among others, to revise its BSA compliance program and name a qualified BSA officer.

A Dec. 19 press release also said that the bank entered into an agreement to become the exclusive credit provider of the nationwide platform of US Premium Finance.

The joint venture is expected to close Jan. 3, 2017. US Premium Finance has around 1,000 insurance agency customers and around $400 million in originated and serviced loans.

Moultrie, Ga.-based Ameris Bank is a unit of Ameris Bancorp.

According to a transcript, Ameris Bancorp President and CEO Edwin Hortman Jr. said during a conference call that at the onset, Ameris expects the US Premium Finance transaction to be 7% to 8% accretive to 2017 earnings per share, or an additional 16 cents to 20 cents. For 2018, Ameris expects accretion of 22 cents to 25 cents per share.

During the same call, Hortman said that the company is working to resolve its BSA issues, which stem from software problems related to one of its automated solutions. The CEO said that the fix has been going on since August, followed by the necessary tweaking and extensive testing so that the right software rules are implemented. The company expects to take a charge of about 10 cents per share, after tax, in the fourth quarter related to its compliance efforts.