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FIRST SOUTHERN BANCORP'S EARNINGS INCREASE IN THIRD QUARTER ASSETS REACH $300 MILLION

 ASHEBORO, N.C., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- First Southern Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: FSOU) reported that third quarter earnings rose 181 percent above the same period last year to $767,618 or $0.38 per share. A year ago, the company earned $272,858 as a mutual savings bank. The increase in 1993 third quarter earnings over a year ago resulted from a $382,491 increase (or 17.4 percent) in net interest income, lower operating expenses of $276,792, and improved asset quality.
 For the first nine months of 1993, First Southern earned $2,305,588, an 84 percent increase over $1,251,561 earned 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 nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993, was $2,005,588, a 60 percent increase over $1,251,561 earned in the same period of 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 $19.9 million or 103 percent during the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993, to $39.2 million. Equity to assets was 13.0 percent at Sept. 30, 1993, and book value per share was $20.59. All of the stock was initially purchased by depositors of the bank so a decline in outstanding deposits of $3.3 million or 1.4 percent during the first half of 1993 was expected. Assets increased $22.2 million or 8.0 percent to $300.4 million during the first nine months of 1993.
 The Board of Directors of First Southern Bancorp, Inc., also recently declared a third quarter dividend of 8 cents per share payable on Oct. 29, 1993, to shareholders of record on Oct. 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)
 Nine Months Ended
 Third Quarter Sept. 30,
 1993 1992 1993 1992
 Net interest income $2,573 $2,191 $7,424 $6,393
 Provision for possible
 loan losses 80 300 250 750
 Noninterest income 459 563 1,311 1,574
 Noninterest expense 1,754 2,030 5,320 5,222
 Income taxes 431 151 1,160 743
 Net income before cumulative
 effect of a change in
 accounting method 768 273 2,005 1,252
 Cumulative effect of change
 in accounting method -- -- 300 --
 Net Income 768 273 2,305 1,252
 Earnings per share .38 -- .92(A) --
 (A) Includes only 38 days in the first quarter after conversion
 to stock.
 Ending Balances
 Sept. 30, Dec. 31,
 1993 1992
 Total assets $300,420 $278,268
 Deposits 235,024 238,334
 Loans, net 202,215 196,706
 Shareholders' equity 39,188 19,268
 Allowance for loan losses 1,758 1,492
 Non-performing assets 4,664 6,057
 Book Value Per Share 20.59 --
 -0- 10/15/93
 /CONTACT: Allen Liles, chief financial officer, of First Southern Bancorp, 919-626-8635/
 (FSOU)


CO: First Southern Bancorp, Inc. ST: North Carolina IN: FIN SU: ERN DIV

CM-MM -- CH006 -- 2648 10/15/93 10:24 EDT
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Date:Oct 15, 1993
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