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First Financial Holdings, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter And Fiscal 2010 Year End Results

Total deposits at September 30, 2010 were $2.4 billion, which was essentially unchanged from the June 30, 2010 quarter end, and an increase of $95.5 million, or 4.1% from September 30, 2009. Core deposits, which exclude all certificates of deposit, totaled $1.1 billion at September 30, 2010, compared to $1.0 billion at the prior year end reflecting First Federal's initiatives in attracting and retaining core deposits. The largest increase was in personal interest-bearing checking accounts resulting from several advertising campaigns highlighting the product during the year. Certificates of deposit increased $12.4 million during the fiscal year to total $1.3 billion at September 30, 2010. Increases in deposits, combined with reductions in assets, resulted in the reduction of short-term borrowings of $258.0 million while FHLB advances increased by $15.5 million or 3.1% as of September 30, 2010 compared to the same quarter of last year.

Shareholders' equity at September 30, 2010 totaled $318.2 million, a decrease of $5.6 million or 1.7% from June 30, 2010 and a decrease of $33.5 million or 9.5% from September 30, 2009. The decrease was primarily a result of net losses incurred. First Federal's regulatory capital ratios are above "well-capitalized" minimums, as evidenced by the following key capital ratios.  Additional capital information is presented in the following table for the last five quarters:
    For the Quarter Ended
  September 30, 2010 June 30, 2010 March 31, 2010 December 31, 2009 September 30,  2009
First Financial:            
Equity to assets   9.58% 9.74% 9.91% 10.20% 10.02%
Tangible common equity to tangible assets (non-GAAP)  6.55  6.71  6.93  7.30  7.16
Book value per common share    $ 15.32  $ 15.66  $ 16.34  $ 17.52  $ 18.03
Tangible common book value per share (non-GAAP)  13.02  13.34  14.02  15.19  15.64
Dividends paid per common share, authorized  0.05  0.05  0.05  0.05  0.05
Common shares outstanding, end of period (000s)  16,527  16,527  16,527  16,526  15,897
First Federal: Regulatory Minimum for "Well-Capitalized"          
Leverage capital ratio 4.00% 8.47% 8.46% 7.74% 7.67% 7.67%
Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio 6.00%  11.27  11.19  9.83  9.78  9.77
Total risk-based capital ratio 10.00%  12.55  12.46  11.10  11.05  11.02

Credit Quality

First Federal's loan portfolio is impacted by numerous factors, most importantly, the economic environment in the markets in which we operate. The allowance for loan losses was $86.9 million or 3.39% of gross loans at September 30, 2010 compared to $86.9 million or 3.36% at June 30, 2010, and $68.5 million or 2.57% at September 30, 2009. The increase in fiscal 2010 was primarily a result of the higher levels of net charge-offs impacting historical lost rates, as well as higher levels of delinquent and nonperforming loans requiring reserves.

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