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SCBT reports 23% jump in Q4 income


Staff Report
Published Jan. 31, 2013

Net income for SCBT Financial, parent of Columbia-based South Carolina Bank and Trust, rose nearly 23% in the fourth quarter of 2012, the company reported today.

Income for the quarter, ended Dec. 31, totaled $5.9 million compared with $4.8 million for a similar period in 2011.

Meanwhile, income for 2012 rose 32.9% to $30 million compared with $22.6 million for 2011.

President and CEO Robert R. Hill Jr.

“It was a year with substantially improved credit quality, a stable margin, very strong fee income, record operating earnings, and strong organic and merger growth within our balance sheet, which totaled 31.8%.”

—President and CEO Robert R. Hill Jr.

The $1.1 million increase in the fourth quarter resulted from higher net interest income, reduced provision for loan losses and increases in all categories of customer-oriented noninterest income, SCBT said.

The increases were offset by expenses related to the acquisition of Savannah Bancorp in 2012 and higher salary and benefits expenses.

Robert R. Hill Jr., president and CEO, labeled the company’s performance in 2012 as “very satisfying,” and cited a 5.9% increase in quarterly dividend and a 41% return for shareholders.

“It was a year with substantially improved credit quality, a stable margin, very strong fee income, record operating earnings, and strong organic and merger growth within our balance sheet, which totaled 31.8%,” Hill said.

He noted the company’s balance sheet is anchored by almost $1 billion in noninterest bearing deposits.

“Our organic growth, significant new customer growth, and merging with banks that have a strong legacy in their markets and strong customer base, are the reasons for success in this area,” Hill added.

Earnings per share increased 23.8% for the year and operating earnings, which excludes merger-related expenses, increased to a record $2.49 per share, an increase of 137%, Hill said.

Total assets at the end of the year rose to $5.1 billion, compared with $4.3 billion at the end of the third quarter and $3.9 billion at the end of 2011.

The increase during the quarter resulted from the Savannah acquisition and $53.7 million in legacy loan growth, the company said. Since the end of 2011, SCBT’s balance sheet has grown by about 31%.

SCBT expects to have the conversion of the Savannah branches fully integrated into SCBT’s operating system by the end of the first quarter, said CFO and COO John C. Pollok.

The acquisition gave SCBT new territory in southern Georgia, where it will retain the Savannah Bancorp brand.

The company operates in South Carolina as SCBT; in North Carolina as NCBT, a division of SCBT; and in Georgia as Community Bank & Trust, a division of SCBT.

SCBT Financial is the largest publicly traded bank holding company based in South Carolina. It operates 84 offices in 19 S.C. counties, 10 north Georgia counties, two coastal Georgia counties, and Mecklenburg County in North Carolina.


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