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First Financial Holdings, Inc. Announces First Quarter Fiscal 2011 Net Income

The allowance for loan losses totaled $88.3 million or 3.42% of total loans at December 31, 2010, compared with $86.9 million or 3.39% of total loans at September 30, 2010 and $73.5 million or 2.78% of total loans at December 31, 2009. The increases in the allowance for loan losses were primarily the result of higher levels of nonperforming loans, evaluation of the fair value of the underlying collateral supporting these loans, and higher loss migration rates. 

Quarterly Results of Operations

First Financial reported net income of $1.2 million for the three months ended December 31, 2010, compared with net losses of $(1.2) million for the three months ended September 30, 2010 and $(4.5) million for the three months ended December 31, 2009.  Total revenue, which consists of net interest income and noninterest income, totaled $46.1 million for the three months ended December 31, 2010, compared with $49.9 million for the three months ended September 30, 2010 and $50.0 million for the three months ended December 31, 2009. Pre-tax, pre-provision earnings decreased to $12.3 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2010, compared with $15.2 million and $14.6 million for the quarters ended September 30, 2010 and December 31, 2009, respectively. The decreases were primarily the result of declines in total revenues as discussed below. 

Net interest income

Net interest margin, on a fully tax-equivalent basis, was 3.83% for the quarter ended December 31, 2010, compared with 3.91% for the prior quarter and 3.96% for the same quarter last year. While First Financial realized a seven basis point reduction in cost of funds due to repricing of deposits and borrowed funds, a 15 basis point decrease in the average yield on assets resulted in a net decrease in net interest margin from the prior quarter. The decline from the same quarter last year was also a result of the reduction in the yield on assets exceeding the decline in cost of funds. First Financial continues to reprice deposits as market competition will support, and earning assets continue to reprice and be replaced with lower yielding assets. 

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