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Call Start: 14:00

Call End: 14:41

First Financial Holdings (FFCH)

Q4 2010 Earnings Call

October 27, 2010 2:00 pm ET

Executives

Dorothy B. Wright - SVP-IR and Corporate Secretary

Wayne Hall - President and CEO

Joseph W. Amy - EVP and Chief Credit Officer

Blaise B. Bettendorf - EVP and CFO

Analysts

Adam Barkstrom - Sterne, Agee & Leach

Christopher Marinac - FIG Partners

Jeff Harralson - Keefe, Bruyette & Woods

David Grayson - Suntrust Robinson Humphrey

Rupesh Sahu - Titan Capital

Presentation

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to First Financial Holdings Fiscal 2010 year-end earnings conference call. During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. And afterwards, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions)

And I would now like to turn the conference over to D. B. Wright, Vice President and Corporate Secretary with First Financial Holdings. . Please go ahead.

Dorothy B. Wright

Good afternoon and thank you Andrei and we appreciate your participation in the fourth quarter 2010 earnings conference call. Before we begin, I have several brief administrative items to address. You should have received our fourth quarter and fiscal year-end 2010 earnings release along with supplemental information earlier today. For those who did not, those are available on our website at www.firstfinancialholdings.com. In addition to this teleconference call, we have a listen-only live web cast. This webcast will be available for the next 90 days. Those are live in archive webcast may be accessed via a link on the homepage of our website. On our call today, Our President and Chief Executive Officer, Wayne Hall, Blaise Bettendorf, our Chief Financial officer and Joe Amy our Chief Credit Officer will be presenting and all will take questions at the end.

Before we begin, I need to remind you that during the course of this call, the company may make forward-looking statements about future events and future financial performance, management plans, objectives or goals for future operations, products or services, forecasts on financial and other performance measures and statement about the company’s general outlook for economic and business condition. You should not undue reliance on any forward-looking statement which speaks only as of the date made. These statements are subject to numerous finance factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated or projected. For a list of some of these factors, please see the company’s forward-looking statement disclosure on our fourth quarter and fiscal year-end 2010 earnings release.

I will now turn the call over to Wayne.

R. Wayne Hall

Thanks D.B. Good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us on the call today and for your interest on First Financial. I encourage you to review our fourth quarter and fiscal year-end earnings release if you have not done so already. As D.B. mentioned, it is available on our website and we will be taking questions at the end of the call. We have completed one most difficult and challenging years for our company and the country. The financial sector as a whole has been dramatically affected by economic downturn over the last 24 months. While we recorded a loss for the year, gain levels are encouraging, our capital remains strong and we believe that we are well-positioned for when the economy turns to a more positive growth direction. We have made considerable investments in human capital over the last year. Our talented and skilled management team is leading the company to fundamental stability, improve deficiencies, and we are executing on a strategic initiatives. We are pleased with the results of this quarter and the quarterly improvements that we have posted. I will like to review some highlights with you.

First, despite our credit challenges and disappointing level of creditworthy loan demand, we still maintain a solid performance in our core business. Our free tax, free provision profit remained solid at $15.2 million for the quarter and $64 million for the year. This is compared to $66.7 million from the prior year and is better than anticipated considering the reductions on our loan balances which are down $ 26.5 million for the last quarter and that is down to $4 million from the prior year-end. We are pleased with our free tax, free provision results as it reflects the work we’ve done to remain focus on generating revenue and operating as efficiently as possible for this cycle. Today, we reported a net loss for the quarter of $1.2 million. This is a marked improvement from the net loss of $12 million from the June 30 quarter and as compared to net loss of $1.3 million from the same period last year. Non-interest income was $19.1 million up from the last quarter’s total of $18.7 million and up from $17.2 million for the same quarter last year.

Our net interest margin remains strong at 3.91% on a fully-taxed equivalent basis for the quarter. As compared to the June 30 quarter, we reported inquiries and mortgage and other loan income on a lower OTTI charge on investment securities. While other income was down as a result of the final settlement from the FTLC related to our acquisition of Cape Fear Bank. This settlement totals $1.5 million and was stated last quarter. Increases on non-interest expense are related to higher real estate owned which Blaise will discuss. The loss for the quarter was driven by long lost provision related to the continuous stretched on our loan portfolio. However, the provision was down from the linked-quarter and lower than the same quarter of the prior year. Joe will address our credit metrics in more detail. Now, I will turn the call over to Blaise Bettendorf and she will walk us through the details of our results. Blaise?

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