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FIRST SOUTHERN BANCORP'S EARNINGS INCREASE 55 PERCENT IN SECOND QUARTER

 ASHEBORO, N.C., July 15 /PRNewswire/ -- First Southern Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: FSOU) reported that second quarter earnings rose 55 percent above the year ago second quarter to $709,525 or $0.37 per share. A year ago, the company earned $457,858 as a mutual savings bank. An increase of $409,103, or 19 percent, in net interest income for the second quarter of 1993 over the 1992 quarter was the primary factor for improved earnings.
 For the first half of 1993, First Southern earned $1,537,970, a 57 percent increase from $978,703 in the same period of 1992. Without the one time change in the method of accounting for income taxes of $300,000, net income for the first half of 1993 was $1,237,970, a 26 percent increase from the same period in 1992.
 First Southern Bancorp, Inc. was formed to acquire all the stock of First Southern Savings Bank, Inc., SSB, upon its conversion from a mutual savings bank to a stock savings bank on Feb. 22, 1993. As a result of the successful completion of a stock offering and the retention of earnings, shareholders' equity increased $19.3 million or 100 percent during the first half of 1993 to $38.5 million. Equity to assets was 13.0 percent at June 30, 1993, and book value per share was $19.95. All of the stock was initially purchased by depositors of the bank so a decline in outstanding deposits of $6.6 million or 2.8 percent during the first half of 1993 was expected. Assets increased $17.2 million or 6.2 percent to $295.5 million during the first six months of 1993.
 The Board of Directors of First Southern Bancorp, Inc. also recently declared a second quarter dividend of 8 cents per share payable on July 30, 1993, to shareholders of record on July 15, 1993.
 First Southern Bancorp, Inc. offers a wide range of banking and financial services through its subsidiary, First Southern Savings Bank, Inc., SSB, with nine branches in seven cities located in Piedmont and Western North Carolina. The company's stock is listed on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol FSOU.
 FIRST SOUTHERN BANCORP, INC.
 CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 (Dollars in Thousands Except Per Share)
 Second Quarter First Half
 1993 1992 1993 1992
 Net interest income $ 2,510 $ 2,100 $ 4,851 $ 4,202
 Provision for possible
 loan losses 50 190 170 450
 Noninterest income 399 419 853 1,011
 Noninterest expense 1,723 1,609 3,567 3,192
 Income taxes 425 262 729 592
 Net income before cumulative
 effect of a change in
 accounting method 710 458 1,238 979
 Cumulative effect of change
 in accounting method -- -- 300 --
 Net Income 710 458 1,538 979
 Earnings per share .37 -- .56(A) --
 (A) Includes only 38 days in first quarter after conversion to
 stock.
 Ending Balances
 June 30, Dec. 31,
 1993 1992
 Total Assets $ 295,497 $ 278,268
 Deposits 231,716 238,334
 Loans, net 197,618 196,706
 Shareholders' equity 38,539 19,268
 Allowance for loan losses 1,659 1,492
 Nonperforming assets 5,101 6,057
 Book Value Per Share 19.95 --
 -0- 7/15/93
 /CONTACT: Allen Liles, Chief Financial Officer, First Southern Bancorp, 919-626-8635/
 (FSOU)


CO: First Southern Bancorp, Inc.; First Southern Savings Bank,
 Inc., SSB ST: North Carolina IN: FIN SU: ERN


CM-MM -- CH002 -- 1773 07/15/93 08:50 EDT
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Date:Jul 15, 1993
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