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CAROLINA FIRST REPORTS QUARTERLY EARNINGS

 GREENVILLE, S.C., July 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Carolina First Corporation (NASDAQ-NMS: CAFC) today reported a 93 percent increase in second quarter net income to $1.15 million from $.6 million a year earlier. Net income per common share was $.17 for the quarter ended June 30, 1993, compared with $.14 for the same quarter in 1992.
 For the first six months of 1993 net income increased 108 percent to $2.1 million, up from the $1.0 million earned during the first six months of 1992. Net income per common share was $.40 for the six months compared with $.28 for the same period in 1992.
 At June 30, 1993, assets totaled $730 million, an increase of 50 percent from the same quarter a year ago, and total stockholders' equity was $60 million compared with $43 million a year earlier. Loan increased 31 percent, or $118 million, to end the second quarter of 1993 at $502 million. Deposits grew 50 percent, or $220 million, to $656 million at June 30, 1993.
 Mack I. Whittle, president and chief executive officer of Carolina First Corporation, said, "Our loan growth continues to be strong. During the second quarter, loans outstanding increased $54 million, or 12 percent. We have maintained outstanding credit quality while at the same time experiencing strong loan growth. The ration of nonperforming loans to total loans was .30 percent at June 30, 1993, while the level of net charge-offs to average loans was .32 percent for the first six months of 1993. We consider both ratios to be exceptional, when compared with the average for Southeastern banking companies. These rations illustrate our continued commitment to outstanding asset quality."
 Whittle added, "Over the last six months, Carolina First has made significant progress in its statewide expansion. At the end of the first quarter, we completed the acquisition of 13 branches. We now serve 21 communities from 30 branches throughout South Carolina.
 "In this acquisition, the deposits acquired exceeded the loans acquired by approximately $175 million. We are using these excess deposits to fund the demand for loans to existing and new customers in the markets we serve. While the demand for loans by highly qualified borrowers has been strong, the excess deposits will not be fully deployed until the end of 1993. Therefore, while our second quarter net income has increased, it is not as high as it could have been if these excess deposits had been fully deployed. We are making an investment in our franchise and building market share which should result in improved returns by the end of 1993."
 Whittle also commented that Carolina First decided to restructure the balance sheet to lower the cost of funds. Although total loans increased 12 percent during the quarter, total assets remained relatively stable. "We decided to lower our cost of funds by using the excess deposits associated with the branches we acquired to replace certain higher-cost deposits, including certificates of deposit. This kept our total assets flat for the quarter, but at a lower cost, which improved our earnings and strengthened our capital ratios."
 During the quarter, Carolina First entered into an agreement to acquire First Sun Mortgage Corporation, a privately held corporation principally engaged in mortgage loan servicing operations. This acquisition will significantly expand Carolina First's mortgage banking activities.
 Carolina First Corporation, headquartered in Greenville, offers a broad range of commercial, consumer and mortgage financial services through two subsidiaries, Carolina First Bank and Carolina First Savings Bank. Carolina first Bank is a state-chartered commercial bank that operates 22 branches throughout South Carolina. Carolina First Savings Bank, headquartered in Georgetown, is a federally chartered savings bank with eight branches in coastal South Carolina.
 Carolina First's preferred stock trades over-the-counter under the symbols CAFCP and CAFCO. Market makers include J.C. Bradford & Co., Interstate/Johnson Lane, Sterne Agee & Leach, and Wheat First Securities.
 -0- 7/13/93
 /CONTACT: William S. Hummers III, Carolina First Corporation, 803-255-7913/
 (CAFC)


CO: Carolina First Corporation ST: South Carolina IN: FIN SU: ERN

JB-SB -- CH008 -- 0871 07/13/93 11:51 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 13, 1993
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