First Financial profit hits $13.2M in 4Q

Staff Report
Published Jan. 28, 2014

First Financial Holdings Inc., formerly SCBT Financial Corp., reported today that net income more than doubled from $5.9 million a year ago to $13.2 million for the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, operating earnings for the quarter totaled $19.3 million, excluding expenses involved in the merger of Columbia-based SCBT Financial and First Financial, headquartered in Charleston. That compares with operating earnings for the fourth quarter of 2012 of $11.1 million.

For 2013, operating earnings reached $63.5 million, the company said.

Meanwhile, the company reported net interest income for the quarter of $84.39 million, compared with $47.91 million for the fourth quarter of 2012.

The company also reported that noninterest income totaled $20.7 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $9.8 million for the last quarter of 2012. The company attributed the increase in noninterest income to acquisitions of Savannah Bancorp and First Financial. In July , SCBT Financial Corp. acquired First Financial Holdings Inc. for $447 million and took the First Financial name.

The company said mortgage volume dropped during the fourth quarter as interest rates rose.

At the end of the year, the company’s total assets were $7.9 billion, up from $5.1 billion at Dec. 31, 2012, but down from $8 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2013. Since Dec. 31, 2012, the company’s balance sheet has grown by more than 54%.

"Overall, 2013 was a record year for our company. With our merger integration going well and our branding change scheduled for this summer, we are optimistic about the opportunities in 2014," said company CEO Robert Hill Jr.

First Financial Holdings operates 146 locations in 19 South Carolina counties, 12 Georgia counties, and four North Carolina counties.

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