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Bank Of Granite Stock Price Still Troubles NASDAQ

Bank of Granite has been granted a temporary reprieve from the threat of having its stock delisted by NASDAQ. The community bank headquartered near Hickory has struggled for more than a year to revive its share price. Bank of Granite's shares closed at $.53 on Friday, March 25. They haven't traded over a dollar since last August and NASDAQ had warned the bank its stock would be booted from the exchange if the price didn't improve. Now Bank of Granite says it's been given a six-month grace period to bring its stock out of the gutter or else execute a maneuver called a reverse stock split. By basically merging two shares into one, the bank could magically double its stock price. The down side for investors is if Bank of Granite ever starts paying a dividend per share again, investors will have fewer shares to collect on. "But you know in the case of Bank of Granite, thinking of dividends would be way down the road," says Paul Stock, an executive vice president with the North Carolina Bankers Association. Bank of Granite stock once traded at $20 per share and was coveted by investors for the generous dividends it paid 50 years in a row. That record ended in 2008 when unemployment took root in the bank's Western North Carolina customer base and loans began to fall through at a shocking pace. In late 2009, Bank of Granite was ordered by state regulators and the FDIC to raise more capital or risk being taken over and sold to another bank. That hasn't happened yet, which Stock sees as a good sign, despite the dismal stock price. "I think there's a great deal of understanding of the stresses that the bank has been under, says Stock. "If given enough time by the FDIC, I think they can right the ship." Bank of Granite reported a third quarter loss of $4.3 million last year. It has yet to announce fourth quarter results.