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Banking & Finance

New Name Announced For First Federal

By Jenny Callison, posted Feb 17, 2014

First Federal Bank will soon be South State Bank.

At a gala ceremony Monday in Columbia, S.C.’s Colonial Life Arena, First Financial Holdings Inc. unveiled the new name for its five banking units, one of which is First Federal Bank, which operates seven locations in the Wilmington market.

First Financial Holdings, First Federal’s parent, and Columbia, S.C.-based SCBT Financial Corp. announced merger intentions in February 2013 and completed the transaction in late July.

The new parent company for both entities was named First Financial Holdings at the time of the merger, but officials decided to proceed slowly with choosing a name to unite all five divisions.

“We’re going to take our time and do it right,” First Financial Holdings CEO and president Wayne Hall said of the merging process shortly after the merger was completed. “We want to minimize the impact for our employees and our customers.”

Speaking at Monday's announcement, South State Bank CEO Robert R. Hill Jr. said, "This is a great next step for our company. Our new name reflects the strength and stability we’ve had for years and clearly positions us to continue building the best regional bank in the Southeast. We have combined a number of great banks into one strong, relationship driven regional bank. While our name is changing, our approach to relationship banking and exceptional service levels will remain the same. The new name will provide greater convenience and increased access for our customers.”

Once all bank divisions begin operating under one name and on one system later this summer, customers will be able to do their banking at any location throughout the three-state network, the release stated. First Federal will undergo a system conversion and name change on July 21.

Prior to the merger, SCBT Financial Corp. was the parent of SCBT, NCBT, Community Bank & Trust and The Savannah Bank. And before the merger, SCBT had three North Carolina locations, all in the Charlotte area.

First Federal ranks eighth in the Wilmington market in terms of in-market deposits, which total about $223 million.

The news release also stated that the holding company name will be changed to South State Corp. if shareholders approve the name change at the company's annual shareholder meeting in April.

First Financial Holdings operates 138 locations in North and South Carolina and in Georgia. Its assets are about $8 billion.

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