RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 24, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Citizens BancShares Inc. (Nasdaq:FCNCA) reports earnings for the quarter ending December 31, 2010, of $30.1 million, compared to $19.0 million for the corresponding period of 2009, according to Frank B. Holding Jr., chairman of the board. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2010 increased $11.1 million, or 58.3 percent, from the same quarter of 2009. Per share income for the fourth quarter 2010 totaled $2.88, compared to $1.82 for the same period a year ago. First Citizens' current quarter results generated an annualized return on average assets of 0.56 percent and an annualized return on average equity of 6.91 percent, compared to respective returns of 0.41 percent and 4.92 percent for the same period of 2009. The increase in net income as well as return on average assets and equity during 2010 reflects the favorable impact of the four FDIC-assisted transactions completed during 2010 and 2009. For the year ended December 31, 2010, net income equaled $193.0 million, or $18.50 per share, compared to $116.3 million, or $11.15 per share, earned during 2009. Net income as a percentage of average assets was 0.93 percent during 2010, compared to 0.66 percent during 2009. The return on average equity was 11.54 percent for 2010, compared to 7.94 percent for 2009. The $76.7 million, or 65.9 percent, increase in net income reflects improved net interest income and larger acquisition gains, partially offset by higher provision for loan and lease losses and noninterest expense and reduced noninterest income. The comparability of BancShares' results of operations for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2010, are affected by the FDIC-assisted transactions. Bargain purchase gains are recorded at the date of the transaction and result from the difference between the estimated fair values of acquired assets and assumed liabilities. Various post-acquisition adjustments to the carrying value of acquired assets may have a significant impact on net interest income, provision for loan and lease losses and noninterest income. Accretable fair value discounts recorded on acquired loans are accreted into income over the estimated life of the loans, with accelerated accretion recognized if repayments occur sooner than originally estimated. In cases where post-acquisition deterioration of credit quality is identified for acquired loans, allowances are established through the provision for loan and lease losses. When credit quality improves post-acquisition, fair value discounts that were initially identified as nonaccretable are reclassified as accretable and are recognized over the remaining life of the loan. For loans covered under FDIC loss share agreements, the net increase or decrease in the estimated recoverable amount resulting from deterioration or improvement is recognized as an adjustment to the FDIC receivable with an offset to noninterest income.