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Photo Release -- Hope Holding Connell Elected Vice Chairman Of First Citizens BancShares, First Citizens Bank

RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 25, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hope Holding Connell has been elected vice chairman of First Citizens BancShares Inc. (Nasdaq:FCNCA) and its First Citizens Bank subsidiary by the company's board of directors.

Hope Holding Connell
Hope Holding Connell elected Vice Chairman at First Citizens BancShares, First Citizens Bank

A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=8668

As vice chairman, Connell will help shape corporate strategies and assume greater responsibilities in managing First Citizens' national franchise, which operates 443 offices in 17 states and the District of Columbia. She will continue her duties as president of First Citizens' IronStone Bank division and as the company's top business banking executive.

"Hope Connell has an extensive record of outstanding performance in all areas of banking and management," said BancShares Chairman and CEO Frank B. Holding Jr. "Her 25 years of financial service experience, her leadership and business acumen will help guide our company toward even greater success."

Connell, 47, joined Raleigh-headquartered First Citizens Bank in 1985 and came up through the ranks, serving in leadership positions from branch manager to commercial banking segment manager.

Since 2006, Connell has been president of IronStone Bank, a former BancShares subsidiary that recently completed an in-house merger with First Citizens Bank. Connell remains president of the IronStone Bank division, which has 58 offices in prominent markets across the country.

Connell was named executive vice president at First Citizens in 2002 and has since directed the company's commercial and business banking efforts, which have won numerous honors for client satisfaction and service. The bank's business services group comprised of business and treasury, working capital finance, international, leasing and insurance services continues to report to her.

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