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Peoples Bancorp annual earnings drop 14%

Peoples Bancorp on Thursday reported 2013 annual earnings of $2.63 million, or $1.11 per diluted common share, a 14 percent decline from the $3.04 million, or $1.26 a share, reported for fiscal 2012.

The Auburn-based parent of Peoples Federal Savings Bank follows a fiscal calendar that ends Sept. 30.

Among the items that reduced profits were a $474,000 jump in employee health insurance costs because of increased claims and $872,000 in prepayment penalties charged on several Federal Home Loan Bank loans that were paid during the quarter.

It’s unclear what advantages the company might have gained by paying off the federal loans early. Maurice Winkler III, Peoples president, couldn’t be reached Thursday afternoon for comment.