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First Financial Holdings, Inc. Expands Its Hilton Head Franchise Through the Acquisition of Five Bank Branches

CHARLESTON, S.C., April 23, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Financial Holdings, Inc. ("First Financial") (Nasdaq:FFCH) announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, First Federal Bank ("First Federal"), completed its previously announced acquisition of five retail banking branches located in Hilton Head, South Carolina from Liberty Savings Bank, FSB. The deposits associated with these branches totaled approximately $115.6 million and consisted predominately of core transaction and savings accounts. Additionally, as part of this transaction, First Federal purchased approximately $21.0 million in loans, primarily residential mortgages and home equity lines of credit.

First Federal moved from 12th in market share in Beaufort County to the 7th position as a result of this transaction, based on FDIC 2011 deposit rankings. Prior to completion of the transaction, First Federal had three offices in the Hilton Head market. As a result of this transaction three offices were consolidated for a net addition of two locations, giving First Federal a total of five offices in the Hilton Head market.

Commenting on the acquisition, R. Wayne Hall, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Financial and First Federal said, "We have enjoyed serving the Hilton Head and Bluffton area for over 19 years. This opportunity allows us to expand our presence in this market, offering an increased network of convenient financial centers and ATMs for our customers."

About First Financial

First Financial Holdings, Inc. ("First Financial") (Nasdaq:FFCH) is a Charleston, South Carolina services provider bank holding company with $3.1 billion in total assets as of December 31, 2011. First Financial offers integrated financial solutions, including personal, business, and wealth management services. First Financial serves individuals and businesses throughout coastal South Carolina, Florence, South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina. First Financial subsidiaries include: First Federal Bank, First Southeast Investor Services, Inc., a registered broker-dealer, and First Southeast 401(k) Fiduciaries, Inc., a registered investment advisor. First Federal Bank is the largest financial institution headquartered in the Charleston, South Carolina metropolitan area and the third largest financial institution headquartered in South Carolina, based on asset size. Additional information about First Financial is available at

CONTACT: First Financial Holdings, Inc.
         Blaise B. Bettendorf
         Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
         (843) 529-5931 or (843) 529.5456
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