updated 10/26/2010 6:16:04 PM ET 2010-10-26T22:16:04

MT. PLEASANT, S.C., Oct. 26, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Southcoast Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:SOCB) announced that it had unaudited net income of $1,078,000, or $0.24 per basic share, for the nine months ended September 30, 2010. This compares to unaudited net income of $1,029,000, or $0.23 per basic share, for the nine months ended September 30, 2009. The September 30, 2010 earnings per share are based on 4,575,949 basic average shares compared to 4,528,821 basic average shares for the nine months ending September 30, 2009.

Total assets as of September 30, 2010 were $476.0 million, compared to $521.4 million as of December 31, 2009; a decrease of 8.7%. Loans, excluding loans held for sale, decreased to $ 336.7 million, down 5.7% from $ 356.9 million as of December 31, 2009. 

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer L. Wayne Pearson noted, "The level of non-performing assets appears to have stabilized during 2010 and we continue to place a strong emphasis on working out of these problems. The slight increase in the percentage of non-performing assets to total assets since June 30, 2010, is caused by a decline in total assets, not an increase in non-performing assets. The foreclosure process in the Charleston area has gained momentum and the Company sees this as a benefit going into 2011. Mr. Pearson also added, "The Company continues to aggressively market new quality loan opportunities and is reviewing strategies to enhance some of its lending products."

As of September 30, 2010, the Bank's Tier One Leverage ratio was 10.38% and its Total Risk Based Capital ratio was 15.89%. Both of these ratios are substantially above the FDIC minimums for well capitalized institutions. During the quarter, several of the directors and executive officers of the corporation purchased 170,815 shares of common stock at market prices pursuant to a private offering. This offering raised $462,908 of additional capital, net of offering costs. 

During the first nine months of 2010, the Company continued its strategy of increasing its core deposits and reducing its dependency on brokered deposits. Brokered and wholesale deposits declined by $28.1 million since December 31, 2009 and $53.4 million since September 30, 2009. This represents a 41.1% decrease in the last twelve months. "The reduction in wholesale funding has been the result of our success in attracting additional core deposits. Our Rewards Checking products have been very well received by existing customers, and have attracted significant new banking relationships," said Pearson.

Southcoast Financial Corporation, headquartered in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, is the holding company of Southcoast Community Bank. The Bank, which opened for business July 20, 1998, is a state chartered commercial bank operating from its main office at 530 Johnnie Dodds Boulevard in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina and nine branches in the Charleston, South Carolina area. Southcoast Financial Corporation's common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol SOCB.

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