jmcdermott@postandcourier.com

The parent of Southcoast Community Bank reported a profit of $844,000, reversing a nearly $3 million loss from the same period year ago.

The gain, which worked out to 16 cents a share, boosted the stock of Mount Pleasant-based Southcoast Financial Corp. It shares jumped 12 percent, or 51 cents, in mid-morning trading to $4.76.

The holding company attributed the profit to a drop in expenses related to the bank’s foreclosures and other “nonperfoming” assets, which have been declining. The key has been a big drop in the amount of money it has had to put aside in its reserves to cover potential loan losses.

“While we continue to work diligently on our nonperforming assets, we also continue to focus on improving our profitable core business and maintaining strong capital levels,” said Southcoast CEO L. Wayne Pearson,.

The bank’s ratio of bad loans and other nonperforning assets to total assets improved this year to about 5.1 percent on Sept. 309 from 7.4 percent at the end of 2011.

Year to date, Southcoast has earned $2,59 million, or 49 cents a share, compared to a nearly $11.7 million loss for the first nine months of 2011. The lender’s total assets have grown more than 3 percent this year to $442 million.