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ATLANTA, GA–(Marketwire – November 12, 2009) – Six financial institutions have been honored with first annual Southeast Community Bank “GIVE” Awards, which recognize community banks that have launched exceptional community service efforts.

The winners are:

— Bank of Tennessee — Kingsport, Tennessee — for utilizing grants to
renovate apartments for low and middle income families and senior citizens,
while also feeding the hungry and encouraging home ownership

— Fifth Third Bank — Charlotte, North Carolina — for its exceptional
commitment to encouraging financial literacy among people of all ages

— Paragon National Bank — Memphis, Tennessee — for its endless
dedication to children’s issues including education and mentoring, as well
as its hands-on support of the Make A Wish Foundation

— The Peoples Bank — Biloxi, Mississippi — for donating time and money
to nonprofit organizations helping families and children, the hungry, and
the community as a whole

— Southern Bancorp — Ruleville, Mississippi — for sharing its wealth
to help revitalize one of the poorest areas of the country, the Mississippi
Delta, while creating new jobs and opportunities

— the little bank — Kinston, North Carolina — for changing the lives
of children through efforts including the “little by little” program, which
encourages students to stay in school and attend college

“GIVE” stands for charitable Giving, community Involvement, Volunteerism and employee Engagement. Judges experienced in community banking evaluated the entries based on objectives, strategies and end results. Banks from seven southeastern states — with asset sizes ranging from $60 million to $115 billion — competed for the honors.

“We knew that many community banks make helping the community a priority, but we were deeply touched by the scope of their generosity,” said Sal Inserra, partner at Porter Keadle Moore, LLP, the accounting firm that hosted the awards. “These banks had amazing programs underway long before the awards were announced; we’re happy to make people aware of the inspiring things they do.”

Several banks received honorable mentions for their charitable works. They include:

— Capital City Bank — Tallahassee, Florida — for its “Take it to Ten”
initiative which requires employees to devote at least ten hours per year
to volunteer activities

— Citizens South Bank — Gastonia, North Carolina — for using TARP
funds to offer below-market mortgage rates with no closing costs to people
who buy real estate from the bank’s borrowers

— RBC Bank — Raleigh, North Carolina — for its “Blue Water Initiative”
which supports clean drinking water and watershed protection

— The Peoples Bank — Winder, Georgia — for its “H.E.R.O.E.S.” (Helping
Everyone Reach Out Every Day and Serve) program which gives every bank
employee and board member $100 each to support causes of their choice

The winners were honored at an awards banquet on November 11, 2009 at The Mansion in Buckhead. Sponsors of the event include Porter Keadle Moore, LLP, law firm Bryan Cave, LLP as well as Banker’s Dashboard, FIG Partners LLC and Fidelity National Information Services.