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First Financial Holdings, Inc. Announces Third Quarter Fiscal 2010 Results And Quarterly Dividend Payment

CHARLESTON, S.C., July 26, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Financial Holdings, Inc. ("First Financial" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:FFCH), the holding company for First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Charleston ("First Federal" or the "Association"), today reported results for the third quarter of its fiscal year ending September 30, 2010. The net loss for the quarter ended June 30, 2010 was ($12.0) million compared to net income before extraordinary item of $5.2 million from the comparative quarter ended June 30, 2009. Basic and diluted loss per share was ($0.73) for the current quarter, compared to $0.44 income per basic and diluted share before the extraordinary item for the quarter ended June 30, 2009. Including the preferred stock dividend and related accretion, the net loss to common shareholders was ($13.0) million, or ($0.79) per diluted share, for the third quarter, compared to net income of $33.1 million, or $2.83 per diluted share, for the third quarter one year ago. Net loss and diluted loss per share for the nine months ended June 30, 2010 totaled ($35.6) million or ($2.16) compared with a net income before extraordinary item of $1.7 million or $0.15 per diluted share, for the nine months ended June 30, 2009.

President and Chief Executive Officer R. Wayne Hall commented, "As planned, we completed our targeted reviews of commercial real estate and business loans greater than $1 million this quarter. As in previous quarters, our earnings continued to be reduced by our provision for loan losses. We are encouraged by the decline in delinquencies and net charge-offs during the third quarter and by signs of stabilization in real estate values." On July 8, 2010, the Company announced asset quality and operating results estimates. The Company recognized a provision for loan losses of $36.4 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2010 compared to $45.9 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2010, and $12.4 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2009. Hall explained, "Losses incurred during the quarter as a result of both our regular ongoing loan review and our targeted reviews have been charged-off or reserved." The allowance for loan losses was 3.36% of gross loans at June 30, 2010. Problem assets, which include non-accrual loans, accruing loans 90 days or more past due and real estate owned, as a percentage of total assets were 4.35% at June 30, 2010 compared with 4.37% at March 31, 2010 and 2.20% at June 30, 2009. 

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