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The First Bancshares, Inc. Reports Increased 1st Quarter 2010 Earnings And Declaration Of Dividend

The First Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: FBMS), holding company for The First, A National Banking Association, ( www.thefirstbank.com) today reported earnings for the quarter ended March 31, 2010. The First Bancshares, Inc. also announced a quarterly dividend of $.025 per common share. The record date will be May 13, 2010 with a payable date of May 27, 2010.

Net income available to common stockholders for the three months ended March 31, 2010 amounted to $460,000, or $.15 per diluted share, compared to $139,000, or $.05 per diluted share for the same quarter in 2009, an increase of $321,000 or 230.9%.

M. Ray “Hoppy” Cole, President & Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We are pleased to report continued improvement in the overall performance of the bank. We recorded significant loan and deposit growth during the first quarter while increasing our net interest margin and reducing our past due and non-accrual loans. The bank’s performance is very encouraging. These results are evidence of a strong commitment by our employees to the operating strategies put in place over the last two years. Our strategies have served the bank well in this difficult economic environment.”

The following are key highlights for the quarter ended March 31, 2010:
  • Loans increased $12.6 million or 3.9% from December 31, 2009
  • Deposits increased $35.3 million or 9.2% from December 31, 2009
  • Net interest margin increased to 3.48% from 3.35% at December 31, 2009

Net Interest Income and Non-Interest Income

Net interest income for the quarter ended March 31, 2010, was $3.8 million, a $349,000 increase compared to the first quarter in 2009. This increase was a result of increased loan volume as well as decreases in our funding costs.

Non-interest income decreased for the first quarter of 2010 by $256,000 as compared to the first quarter of 2009. Impairment losses on our securities portfolio attributed to this decline as well as a decrease in fee income generated from our mortgage division.

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