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CAROLINA FINANCIAL CORPORATION ANNOUNCES APPROVAL TO CONSOLIDATE CRESCENT BANK & COMMUNITY FIRSTBANK

May 16, 2011 Charleston, S.C. – Representatives from Carolina Financial Corporation today announced the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) approval of their request to consolidate the corporation’s two bank charters, Myrtle Beach, S.C.-based Crescent Bank and Charleston, S.C.-based Community FirstBank.

With the approval of the FDIC, Carolina Financial Corporation now moves forward with the consolidation of the two charters to one, with completion of the merger expected to be finalized by the fourth quarter of 2011. When complete, the two banks will share a new name, which has not yet been released, and will continue to use the marketing tagline “Have a nice bank.”

The Corporation’s board of directors and management team, after analyzing the most effective way to manage and position the banks, determined the logical evolution to take advantage of new opportunities would be to consolidate. The analysis included reviewing the size, operating efficiency and, most importantly, the utilization and deployment of human capital across both banks and the corporation. The end result was a decision to consolidate the two banking charters into one in order to provide the optimal option for future growth and success.

Efficiency of this consolidation includes: better utilization of banking talent; more effective marketing; a larger footprint for customers to utilize existing services and branches; and improved product development.

With the consolidation, all current bank locations will retain the same staff, hours of operation and products and services customers have grown to expect from both Crescent Bank and Community FirstBank.

“We are pleased to announce the consolidation of Community First Bank and Crescent Bank, as we’re certain this evolution will have nothing but a positive effect for employees, banking partners and most importantly, our customers,” said David L. Morrow, CEO. “With this evolution, customers will still be delivered the best experience along the South Carolina coast from the people they’ve grown to trust when it comes to their financial needs. As we have over the last decade, all local banking decisions will be made in their respective local banking markets and we feel it is very important for customers to understand we will continue to use our local leadership to make local decisions in the markets we serve. Moving forward, we will continue to be committed to making sure customers ‘Have a nice bank.’”

About Carolina Financial Corporation
Founded in 1997, Carolina Financial Corporation is a multi-bank holding company. The Corporation has two wholly-owned bank subsidiaries, Community FirstBank and Crescent Bank, and Crescent Mortgage Company. Community FirstBank, established in 1997, operates six offices in Charleston, S.C.  Crescent Bank, established in 2001, operates four offices in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Crescent Mortgage Company, a wholesale residential mortgage banking business, is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. and has branch offices located in Manchester, N.H.; Chicago, Ill.; Columbia, Md.; and Orlando, Fla.

About Crescent Bank
Formed in 2000, Crescent Bank is a Myrtle Beach-based community-minded bank. Since opening its doors to the public on July 2, 2001, Crescent Bank offers customers the most complete line of banking products and services available, including commercial loans, consumer loans, mortgage loans, checking accounts, savings accounts, money markets, certificates of deposit, ATMs and online banking with bill pay.

Crescent Bank has offices in Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Garden City and Conway, S.C. Crescent Bank offers financial planning and brokerage services to its customers through the Raymond James Financial Services network.

Crescent Bank’s main branch is located at 991 38th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach.  A second bank branch is located at 700 Main Street in North Myrtle Beach. The bank’s Conway branch is located at 2069 East Highway 501 and its Garden City location is at 2636 Highway 17 South. For additional information about Crescent Bank, call (843) 626-2200 or visit haveanicebank.com or http://www.facebook.com/CrescentBank

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About Community FirstBank
In 1997, Community FirstBank opened its doors to the Charleston market and since then, the bank has been operating under the singular goal of meeting the individual banking needs of customers located throughout the Charleston area. Locally owned and operated since its inception, Community FirstBank currently offers six convenient locations throughout Charleston and the Lowcountry to provide customers with a full range of financial products and services.

With assets totaling more than $500 million, Community FirstBank is headquartered in downtown Charleston at 288 Meeting Street, with another office located in Charleston/West Ashley at 884 Orleans Road. The bank’s Mount Pleasant branch is located at 1492 Stuart Engals Boulevard; its Summerville office is located at 200 North Cedar Street; its James Island office is located at 430 Folly Road; and its North Charleston office is located at 8485 Dorchester Road.

Community FirstBank offers customers the most complete line of banking products and services available, including commercial loans, consumer loans, mortgage loans, checking accounts, savings accounts, money markets, certificates of deposit, ATMs and online banking with bill pay. For additional information about Community FirstBank, call (843)723-7700 or visit commfirstbank.com or http://www.facebook.com/CommFirstBank
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