South Carolina banks respond to FDIC consent orders

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Here are the responses from four South Carolina banks who have been issued consent orders by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Clente Flemming, President and CEO of South Carolina Community Bank: "The Consent Order that we are under with the FDIC has no affect on our current customers as all of our customers are insured up to $250,000 and some transaction accounts have unlimited security.

The Consent Order focus' on our asset quality as well as our capital. As a result of the downturn in the economy, our past dues are higher than normal. We have designed plans to address our asset quality as well as capital."

Allan Ducker, CEO of Community South Bank & Trust: "The Consent Order is a formal plan between our Bank and the FDIC for addressing various financial and operational challenges that have developed at our Bank as a result of the current economic recession.  We have already addressed many of the items outlined in the Order, and will continue to work cooperatively with the FDIC to address all such items.

The regulatory order in no way affects the servicing of our customers or our day-to-day operations. It also does not change our customers' FDIC Insurance. All depositors continue to enjoy FDIC insurance up to $250,000 per depositor. In addition, CommunitySouth participates in the FDIC Transaction Account Guarantee Program, which provides unlimited insurance to non-interest bearing transaction accounts and interest-bearing transaction accounts with interest rates of 0.25% or less. No insured depositor has ever lost a single penny in an FDIC insured bank."

"Congaree State Bank has previously announced that it has signed a formal agreement with the FDIC and the South Carolina State Board of Financial Institutions. The agreement is called a Consent Order and was signed on May 14, 2010. The agreement is a formal action plan to improve the Bank's performance. The Company's Board of Directors agreed to work in conjunction with the FDIC to strengthen its operations and procedures. Unfortunately, a significant number of banks across the nation are now operating in conjunction with their regulators with similar formal action plans.

"This agreement stemmed from an examination conducted by the FDIC in September, 2009", states Charlie Kirby, President and Chief Executive Officer of Congaree State Bank. "Since last September, management was aware of the issues raised by its primary regulator and had already taken steps to correct those issues. This document is essentially a template for the operation of a safe and sound financial services company. We are currently in substantial compliance with all of the terms and conditions of this agreement, and most importantly, we have the capital that exceeds the Order's stated requirements."

The Bank first opened its doors on October 16, 2006 and within 18 months of operation found itself in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The Bank was fortunate not to have any significant exposure to the speculative residential real estate market; however, as in the case with essentially all banks, its performance mirrors the economic performance of the market in which it operates. Small business clients continue to be stressed and consumers have faced devaluation of their homes. Even though the Bank is seeing some improvement, most clients are hesitant to grow their businesses in such an uncertain environment.

"As a community bank, we know our clients as our friends and neighbors and we will work with them through the difficult times", commented Kirby. "Our market is very resilient and has not experienced the level of difficulties faced by many other areas across the state, and thankfully we are seeing many signs of improvement. We truly are a local community bank that is here to serve our market. Our focus remains on our clients, while providing superior and personalized customer service."

Certain statements in this news release contain"forward-looking statements"within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, such as statements relating to future plans and expectations, and are thus prospective. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties, and other factors, such as a downturn in the economy, which could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Although we believe that the assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements are reasonable, any of the assumptions could prove to be inaccurate. Therefore, we can give no assurance that the results contemplated in the forward-looking statements will be realized. The inclusion of this forward-looking information should not be construed as a representation by our Company or any person that the future events, plans, or expectations contemplated by our Company will be achieved. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise."

Carolina First Bank: "The South Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSFG) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with TD Bank Financial Group (TSX and NYSE:TD) providing for the merger of TSFG and a wholly-owned subsidiary of TD.

Under the agreement, TD will acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of TSFG. Upon completion of the transaction, TD will acquire all of TSFG and all of its businesses and obligations, including all deposits of Carolina First Bank (which also operates as Mercantile Bank in Florida).
In light of the pending transaction with TD, TSFG is postponing its annual meeting of shareholders that was scheduled to be held on Tuesday, May 18, 2010.

"Our board and management have conducted a broad and extensive process over the last six months to seek the best outcome for our shareholders, as well as for our customers, employees and the communities which we serve," said H. Lynn Harton, President and CEO of The South Financial Group. "TD is a strongly-capitalized financial institution with a prudent approach to risk management. It is committed to maintaining TSFG's tradition of customer service and community involvement. TD's AAA-rated financial strength will help the combined company position itself for future success and long-term growth."

Harton continued, "With this merger, we will also become part of an organization with a passion for delivering legendary customer experiences and a commitment to building strong relationships with their customers. Our Carolina First and Mercantile operations will become an integral part of TD's expansion in building out the 'Maine to Florida' franchise in the United States. This is a strong combination and will bring stability to our customers and employees."

The addition of TSFG marks TD Bank's entry into the Carolinas and bolsters its Florida franchise. The franchises fit together very well, further filling out TD's U.S. footprint.

"TSFG offers us a strong platform for expansion in the U.S. Southeast, further expands our presence in Florida and demonstrates our continued commitment to growing our business," said Bharat Masrani, President and CEO, TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank. "We believe that we can add significant upside by applying our retail expertise and WOW! culture to this established regional bank. The transaction builds on our organic growth capability and the momentum of our recent acquisitions in the deposit-rich Florida market. It also gives us a strong position in North and South Carolina, where Carolina First is a leading community bank with a solid base for market share growth and asset generation."

Lynn Harton will continue to be based in Greenville, SC and will join TD Bank's management team, reporting to Mr. Masrani, upon the conclusion of the transaction."

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved.