SPARTANBURG, SC – July 21, 2008 – First National Bancshares, Inc. (Nasdaq: FNSC), the holding company for First National Bank of the South, was named one of the nation’s top community banks in the June 2008 issue of U.S. Banker magazine as ranked by three-year average return on equity (ROE).
Jerry L. Calvert, First National’s President and CEO, said, We are honored to be included in this group of top-performing community banks who have maintained high returns on equity, despite the recent decline in the financial markets, which began in the second half of 2007. Like other community banks, we are focused on protecting our capital by controlling our expenses while we reinforce our loan loss reserves and maintain our franchise in all of our markets.
First National’s three-year average ROE of 15.40% ranked 80th on the list of 200 community banks from across the country. The data collected by SNL Financial included publicly-traded community banks and thrifts, as well as private companies that file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Kitty Payne, First National’s Executive Vice President and CFO, said, Average return on equity is one of the top financial performance benchmarks, measuring the rate of return that we achieve on our investors’ equity. This ranking demonstrates First National’s dedication to efficiently leveraging our shareholders’ capital investment in our company.
U.S. Banker, a monthly magazine published by SourceMedia, is the leading banking business management magazine, written for those individuals who are charged with generating greater profits and shareholder value for their financial institutions. Originally titled United States Investor when it was launched in 1891, U.S. Banker is the magazine that senior-level industry executives have turned to for the latest industry coverage for the past 117 years.
First National Bancshares, Inc. is an $852.8-million asset bank holding company based in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Its common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol FNSC. It was incorporated in 1999 to conduct general banking business through its wholly-owned bank subsidiary, First National Bank of the South.
First National Bank of the South provides a wide range of financial services to consumer and commercial customers. The banking division operates 11 full-service branches, three in Spartanburg County operating as First National Bank of Spartanburg, and eight operating as First National Bank of the South in Columbia, Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Greenville and Greer. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has approved the opening of a twelfth full-service branch, which is expected to open later in July in Lexington, South Carolina. First National has also received approval from the OCC to open its thirteenth full-service branch and York County market headquarters in the Fort Mill/Tega Cay community, which is expected to open early in 2009. First National also operates loan production offices in Rock Hill, South Carolina and Indian Trail, North Carolina. First National Bank’s wholesale mortgage lending division provides services to community banks and mortgage brokers across the Southeast from its office in Greenville.
Additional information about First National is available online in the Investor Relations section of www.firstnational-online.com