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SCBT Financial Corp. (SCBT): Escaping the Financial Fallout, Delivering for Investors

SCBT Financial (SCBT) is a bank holding company operating in North and South Carolina. SCBT provides retail and commercial banking services, mortgage lending services, trust and investment services, and consumer finance loans, along with traditional banking services such as checking and savings accounts. The company also offers credit cards and home equity lines of credit, as well as alternative investment products like annuities and mutual funds. As of the end of 2007, SCBT had 50 financial centers in 16 South Carolina counties and one in North Carolina.

During a time when the international credit crisis has afflicted many major financial institutions, SCBT has emerged relatively unscathed and in sound financial health. The company had almost $22 million in net income in 2007 and has $105 million in cash on hand. Last year, SCBT entered the North Carolina market via its acquisition of TSB Financial. The purchase netted $193 million in assets for SCBT and put it in head-to-head competition with banking giants Bank of America, BB&T and Wachovia. Wachovia will soon be acquired by either Citigroup or Wells Fargo. Two Wall Street analysts follow SCBT with an average price target for the shares of $36.50.

In the second quarter ended June 30, SCBT said net income jumped to a record $6.1 million, a 10-percent rise over the year earlier period. The company bolstered its capital position last month via a $15-million subordinated debt offering. Insiders own five percent of SCBT shares while 62 institutions own 29 percent. Mutual fund owners include DFA, First Financial Fund, iShares and Vanguard. South Carolina-based SCBT was founded in 1934. Robert Hill, Jr. is the company’s chief executive officer and president.

Shares of SCBT closed Tuesday at $33.39 and have traded between $26.25 and $45.24 over the past 52 weeks. The company pays an annual dividend of 68 cents a share and has a market value of almost $341 million.

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