First South Bancorp, Inc. Ranked in Top 200 Community Banks in United States by U. S. Banker for 3-Year Average ROE

May 28, 2010, 10:00 ET from First South Bancorp, Inc.

WASHINGTON, N.C., May 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- First South Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSBK) (the "Company"), parent holding company of First South Bank (the "Bank"), has been recognized by U.S. Banker magazine as 27th among the top 200 publicly traded community banks and thrifts in the United States with less than $2 billion of assets at December 31, 2009.

The listing, which appears in the June 2010 edition of U.S. Banker magazine, was compiled by rating the top 200 publicly traded community banks and thrifts in the United States with less than $2 billion of assets ranked by 3-year average return on equity (ROE) as of December 31, 2009.  Of the top 200 publicly traded community banks and thrifts identified in the U.S. Banker rankings, First South Bancorp ranks 27th, with a 13.62% 3-year average ROE.

Bill Wall, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company stated, "We are pleased to be recognized by the U.S. Banker for our 3-year average return on equity.  This ranking reflects the Company's success of managing its equity position.  We have focused on maintaining a core earnings stream, while controlling operating expenses in order to enhance our operating performance.  

The U.S. Banker ranking exemplifies the visibility of First South Bancorp's operating performance among the national banking, business and investment communities and places us at the top of our peer group in 3-year average return on equity.  This performance ranking also places us with the highest 3-year average return on equity among all publicly traded community banks and thrifts headquartered in the state of North Carolina."

First South Bank operates through its main office headquartered in Washington, North Carolina, and has 28 full service branch offices and one loan production office, located throughout eastern, northeastern, southeastern and central North Carolina.  The Bank offers a broad range of financial products and services, including a leasing company.  The Bank also makes securities brokerage services available through an affiliation with an independent broker-dealer.

First South Bancorp's common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol FSBK.  Additional corporate information, product and service descriptions and online services are available to investors and customers through First South Bank's website at  

Statements contained in this release, which are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors which include, but are not limited to, factors discussed in documents filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time.

For More Information Contact:

Bill Wall (CFO)

Phone: (252) 940-5017


SOURCE First South Bancorp, Inc.