One of my favorite catch-phrases from last year comes courtesy of Calculated Risk — if you aren’t reading that blog, you should be. And it look like we’ve got another case of a market participant taking a loss they didn’t see coming even a few months ago. United Community Banks Inc. posted $76 million in loan loss provision, with $56 million in net charge-offs, during Q3. And they said at the time as follows:
… we certainly don’t see a recurrence of the third quarter charge-off level in the immediate future.
You know what’s coming next, right? Uh-huh. A Q4 loan loss provision of $85 million, with an expected $74 million in charge-offs, per a warning released by the firm yesterday evening. Whoocoodanode, indeed. But it also underscores how enduring the nation’s real estate crisis is, as the loss provision and charge-offs are coming out of construction portfolios at the Georgia-based bank. If UCBI can’t quite get it right, I think perhaps its an early indicator of what we might want to be thinking about as we look at the upcoming Q4 2008 earnings season, too.