Published Oct. 29, 2012
Two South Carolina-based banks released their earnings for the third quarter, both showing an increase in loan volume.
First Financial Holdings, the parent company to First Federal Bank, reported net income grew from $113,000 in the third quarter of 2011 to $5.7 million in 2012. Loans grew by 9.3%, from $2.3 million to $2.5 million, in the third quarter.
“First Financial is pleased to report another quarter of solid earnings as we continue to successfully execute on our strategic priorities," said R. Wayne Hall, president and CEO of First Financial. "In addition to maintaining operating results, we are extremely pleased that credit metrics have remained stable since our bulk loan sale in October 2011. We believe that all of our initiatives have positioned us well to provide enhanced value to our shareholders."
Income and loans decreased compared to the second quarter of this year, but Hall said he is not concerned.
“Even though balances are declining, less-quality loans are leaving our balance sheet and are being replaced with higher-quality loans,” he said.
The bank issued a $12.50 dividend per share on its fixed-rate cumulative perpetual preferred stock and a dividend of 5 cents per common share.
The bank is Charleston’s oldest and largest locally headquartered bank. It is the third-largest financial institution headquartered in the state. It operates 66 locations in the Charleston metropolitan area; Horry, Georgetown, Florence and Beaufort counties in South Carolina; and Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties in coastal North Carolina.
SCBT Financial earnings
SCBT Financial, parent of Columbia-based South Carolina Bank & Trust, said it experienced solid legacy loan growth of $36.1 million for an annual rate of 5.8% in the third quarter.
“This loan growth came primarily in the commercial owner-occupied and commercial and industrial categories as we continue to develop quality banking relationships across our footprint,” said Robert Hill Jr., president and CEO of SCBT.
During a conference call with analysts, bank officials said most of the loans were made along the Interstate 85 corridor in South Carolina and Georgia, where the bank has expanded operations through a number of acquisitions since 2010.
There also has been some commercial and industrial loan growth in the Columbia area, officials added.
For the quarter, the company reported net income of $9.1 million compared with $10.3 million for the same period in 2011. The third quarter of 2011, though, included a $6.8 million gain from the FDIC-assisted acquisition of Columbia-based BankMeridian, a spokeswoman said.
Compared with $8 million for the second quarter of 2012, income rose 13.8%.
The bottom line improved through gains in fee income, expanded net interest margin and holding down expenses, Hill said.
“While we are continuing to experience improvement in operations and profitability, I remain encouraged by the significant momentum and potential we have to improve performance further and to take advantage of many opportunities to grow our customer base, performance and earnings,” Hill said.
SCBT operates 75 locations in South Carolina counties, Georgia and North Carolina.
SCBT’s assets total $4.3 billion, making it the largest publicly traded bank holding company in South Carolina.