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SOUTHERN NATIONAL/EAST COAST SAVINGS BANK AGREE TO MERGE

 LUMBERTON, N.C., March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern National Corporation (NYSE: SNB) and East Coast Savings Bank, SSB of Goldsboro announced today that they have agreed to a merger that will be the second largest conversion/merger of a mutual thrift in North Carolina. Terms of the agreement call for the conversion of East Coast from a mutual to a capital stock state savings bank and the simultaneous acquisition of East Coast by Southern National.
 "East Coast is a well-capitalized institution with a reputation for strong earnings and quality loans," said Southern National Chairman Glenn Orr. "We're merging with one of the best savings banks in the state. I am especially pleased to report that East Coast Chairman Troy Pate and President James Jones will continue as executives of the combined organization."
 "The East Coast Savings Bank board of directors has studied the future of our organization for some time and has determined that this is a real opportunity to offer more and better services to its customers in today's economic environment," said Troy W. Pate, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of East Coast Savings Bank. "Southern National Bank represents a unique opportunity to merge with another institution that has the same compassion and dedication for its customers and employees as East Coast does."
 The merger of East Coast, with $256 million in assets, will substantially increase Southern National's market share in Fayetteville, Goldsboro and Clinton and provide Southern National entry into four new markets: Fremont, Newton Grove, Princeton and Roseboro.
 The transaction, expected to be completed in the third quarter, will boost Southern National's market share ranking in Fayetteville from 2nd to 1st with approximately 18 percent of total deposits, improve its ranking in Goldsboro from 6th to 3rd with approximately 20 percent of the market, and increase its ranking in Clinton from 5th to 1st. Fayetteville is the state's fifth largest financial market.
 Southern National recently improved its market position in Winston-Salem - the state's fourth largest market - to 2nd with the acquisition of First Federal Savings Bank of Winston-Salem in January.
 East Coast and Southern National have signed a merger agreement which includes a plan of conversion. The transaction is subject to approval by East Coast members and regulatory agencies.
 East Coast, with 10 offices in seven cities in eastern North Carolina, is the fourth largest mutual savings bank in the state. East Coast reported record earnings of $3.0 million for the year ended June 30, 1992, a 82 percent increase over the previous year. The savings bank currently operates with a return on assets of 1.56 percent. In the year ended December 31, 1992, Southern National reported a return on assets of 1.16 percent.
 The merger will increase Southern National's assets to approximately $5.3 billion. Southern National, with 158 branches in 84 cities, is the sixth largest bank holding company in North Carolina and the fifth largest in South Carolina.
 -0- 3/9/93
 /CONTACT: Bob Denham (before 10 a.m.), Public Relations,


919-671-2427, or John R. Spruill, Chief Financial Officer, 919-671-2530, both of Southern National Corporation, or Troy W. Pate, Jr., Chairman & CEO, East Coast Savings Bank SSB, 919-734-2064/
 (SB)


CO: Southern National Corporation; East Coast Savings Bank, SSB of
 Goldsboro ST: North Carolina IN: FIN SU: TNM


CM -- CH001 -- 4319 03/09/93 07:30 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 9, 1993
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