FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2004
For information, contact
First Citizens Bank
Phone: (803) 733-2659
First Citizens Reports Earnings for Fourth Quarter 2003
COLUMBIA, S.C., January 28, 2004 – First Citizens Bancorporation of South Carolina, Inc. (OTCBB-“FCBN”) reports consolidated net income for the quarter ending December 31, 2003, of $9.39 million compared to $8.66 million for the corresponding quarter of 2002. For the year ended December 31, 2003, consolidated net income was $39.88 million compared to $39.05 million for the year ended December 31, 2002.
Total deposits as of December 31, 2003 were $3.71 billion compared to $3.28 billion as of December 31, 2002. Gross loans as of December 31, 2003 were $2.94 billion compared to $2.42 billion as of December 31, 2002.
During the fourth quarter, net interest income was $38.69 million, an increase of $1.57 million over the comparable quarter in 2002. Bancorporation continues to experience margin compression; however, internal loan growth and the continuing effect of the April 2003 acquisition of First Banks, Inc. mitigated the compression to some extent causing net interest income to grow in dollars. Provision for loan losses declined by $1.05 million during the quarter, primarily due to a decline in net charge-offs during the quarter and the year.
During the fourth quarter, growth in noninterest income slowed, with total noninterest income increasing by $504 thousand over the comparable quarter in 2002. Increases in deposit-related income were offset by a decline in mortgage income as Bancorporation experienced a decline in refinance activity during the quarter. Noninterest expense was $36.47 million during the quarter, an increase of $3.02 million over the same period of 2002. The majority of the increase was due to higher personnel costs, depreciation expense, and data processing expense as a result of continued expansion of lines of business.
For the year, net interest income was $149.30 million, an increase of $2.75 million over the prior year. Noninterest income was $59.15 million for the year, an increase of $9.81 million over the same period of 2002. The increase was primarily due to increases in deposit-related and mortgage income.
Noninterest expense was $136.99 million for the year ended December 31, 2003, an increase of $10.88 million over the same period of 2002. The majority of the increase was due to higher personnel costs, depreciation expense and data processing expense as a result of continued expansion of lines of business.
At its meeting held January 28, 2004, Bancorporation’s Board of Directors declared a quarterly common stock dividend of $0.35 per share for shareholders of record as of February 13, 2004, payable February 25, 2004.
First Citizens Bancorporation of South Carolina, Inc. is a three-bank financial holding company headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, with $4.30 billion in total consolidated assets as of December 31, 2003. For more information, visit the First Citizens web site at www.firstcitizensonline.com.
This discussion may contain statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, which statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements are statements that include projections, predictions, expectations or beliefs about future events or results, or otherwise are not statements of historical fact. Such statements are often characterized by the use of the qualifying words (and their derivatives) such as “expect,” “believe,” “estimate,” “plan,” “project,” “anticipate,” or other statements concerning opinions or judgments of Bancorporation and its management about future events. Factors that could influence the accuracy of such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the financial success or changing strategies of Bancorporation’s customers, actions of government regulators, the level of market interest rates, and general economic conditions.