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SCBT and First Financial announce merger - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

SCBT and First Financial announce merger

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Two Southeast-based banks announced Wednesday they will merge to create a premier regional bank.

SCBT Financial Corporation and First Financial Holdings, Inc. have agreed to a $302.4 million merger. Upon completion of the deal, the new premier regional bank will have approximately $8.3 billion in total assets.

First Financial, which operates First Federal Bank, has 66 locations in the Carolinas.

According to a release, the new bank will rank 5th in deposit share in South Carolina, and operate a network of 148 branches in the Carolinas.

"We are pleased to announce that two of the Southeast's oldest, strongest and largest banks are merging to form a dynamic banking company. Our two banks complement each other significantly and, because of our size, earnings power and strength, we will be uniquely positioned to build a premier regional bank in the Southeast," said Robert R. Hill, Jr., president and CEO, SCBT Financial Corporation.

A release states the merger agreement was unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company. "For nearly 80 years, both SCBT and First Federal have consistently served the financial needs of our customers and we look forward to continuing this legacy," said R. Wayne Hall, president and CEO of First Financial. "We will collectively continue to deliver the highest level of service, while maintaining our community banking values. Together, we will collaborate to evaluate our strengths and work to leverage the best of each of our institutions."

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2013.

The release did not state what name the merged banks will operate under.

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