First South Bancorp Inc. reports record loan growth

Published 12:56 am Monday, February 1, 2016

From First South Bancorp Inc.

First South Bancorp Inc., the parent holding company of First South Bank, reported its unaudited financial results for the quarter and year-ended Dec. 31, 2015.

Loan and lease growth during the fourth quarter remained strong for the Company as loans and leases held for investment increased $39.7 million to bring the total outstandings to $607.0 million at year end 2015. Growth in loans and leases held for investment for 2015 totaled $126.6 million or a 26.3-percent increase over the $480.4 million outstanding at year-end 2014. This expansion in our loan base will be a strong catalysis of income growth for the company into 2016.

For the 2015 fourth quarter, net income was $1.6 million or $0.16 per diluted common share, compared to net income of $1.2 million, or $0.13 per diluted common share for the linked 2015 third quarter and $149,000 or $0.02 per diluted common share for the comparative 2014 fourth quarter. Net income for the year ended Dec. 31, 2015 was $4.7 million, or $0.49 per diluted common share, compared to $4.1 million, or $0.42 per diluted common share for the year ended Dec. 31, 2014. Income for the fourth quarter and the year-ended 2014 reflects the impact of $1.7 million of one-time pre-tax transaction expenses associated with the acquisition of nine branch offices from Bank of America (BOA) in mid-December.

Bruce Elder, president and CEO, commented, “Our greatest challenges heading into 2015 were leveraging the large deposit base acquired through the branch purchase and introducing the First South Bank brand into new markets. We were able to grow our loan and lease portfolios by $126.6 million or over 26 percent during 2015. We achieved this record growth without sacrificing credit underwriting standards or taking undo interest rate risk. Despite the growth in loans, asset quality has improved significantly as we enjoyed declines in both non-performing loans and non-performing assets.

Our efforts to leverage the branch acquisition are translating into better financial results as our monthly earnings in both November and December of 2015 exceed pre-acquisition levels.”

Mr. Elder continued, “We remain committed to gaining greater efficiency while at the same time evaluating new growth opportunities. During 2015, we consolidated the deposits, loans and operations of several branches resulting in the closing of two offices and have announced three more such consolidations, which will occur in February 2016. We established a new full-service branch location in Williamston in late November broadening our geographic footprint into several agricultural rich counties of eastern North Carolina, which have been underserved by a true community bank. For 2016, we will continue to evaluate our markets and branch facilities, deploy a more targeted marketing effort to further enhance deposit market share and loan growth and invest in our digital banking platform.”


First South Bank has been serving the citizens of eastern and central North Carolina since 1902 and offers a variety of financial products and services to business and individual customers from its banking offices located throughout eastern and central North Carolina.  The bank also provides a full menu of leasing services through its wholly owned subsidiary, First South Leasing, LLC. In addition, under its First South Wealth Management division, the bank makes securities brokerage services available through an affiliation with an independent broker/dealer.

Additional investor information for the company and the bank may be accessed on our website at