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CAROLINA FIRST REPORTS RECORD EARNINGS; NET INCOME INCREASED 62 PERCENT FOR 1992

 GREENVILLE, S.C., Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Carolina First Corporation (NASDAQ-NMS: CAFC) today announced the highest annual and quarterly earnings in its history. For the year ended Dec. 31, 1992, net income increased 62 percent to $2.7 million, and earnings per common share rose 23 percent to $0.70 compared with 1991 net income of $1.7 million and earnings per common share of $0.57.
 Net income for the fourth quarter was $884,000, or $0.21 per common share, compared with $409,000, or $0.14 per common share, for the same period in 1991.
 President and Chief Executive Officer Mack I. Whittle, Jr., said, "We are pleased to report record-setting earnings for 1992. This is the second consecutive year in which Carolina First has seen an increase in net income of more than 60 percent. We also passed an important milestone for Carolina First when total assets topped the half-billion mark. Our substantial growth in loans and deposits, particularly at a time when the banking market is becoming increasingly competitive, proves that South Carolinians desire the high quality, personalized service that Carolina First offers."
 At Dec. 31, 1992, assets totalled $530 million, an increase of $82 million, or 18 percent, for the year. Total stockholders' equity at Dec. 31, 1992 was $45 million, compared with $32 million a year earlier. Loans increased 17 percent to $397 million, and deposits grew 17 percent to $476 million. Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans were 0.67 percent at Dec. 31, 1992, and net loan charge-offs as a percentage of average loans was 0.35 percent for the year. Both ratios, which remain well below average for Southeastern banking companies, illustrate Carolina First's high asset quality.
 Carolina First also entered into agreements to purchase branches from other financial institutions. "The purchase of four Columbia branches, which we expect to close in the first quarter of 1993, represents a forceful first step into the important Columbia market," Whittle stated. "We believe that Carolina First's entry into the Columbia market presents a quantum leap toward our goal of becoming a premier statewide financial institution.
 "In the first quarter of 1993, we also plan to purchase eight branches in the Southeastern part of the state and open two new upstate branches, strengthening our branch network in this strong region. This sale of $11 million of convertible preferred stock, which we completed in May, will assist us in making these investments in our future."
 Carolina First Corporation, established in October of 1986 and capitalized at approximately $45 million, is currently a $530 million asset financial institution holding company that offers a broad range of commercial and consumer financial services through its two subsidiaries, Carolina First Bank and Carolina First Savings Bank. Carolina First Bank is a state chartered commerical bank that operates eight branches principally in northwestern 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 common stock is traded in the NASDAQ National Market System under the trading symbol CAFC; its preferred stock is traded over-the-counter under the symbol CAFCP. Market makers include J.C. Bradford & CO., Interstate/Johnson Lane, The Robinson-Humphrey Company, Inc. and Wheat First Butcher and Singer.
 -0- 1/12/93
 /CONTACT: William S. Hummers, III, Carolina First Corporation, 803-255-7913/
 (CAFC)


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

MM -- CH007 -- 4172 01/12/93 16:13 EST
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Date:Jan 12, 1993
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