Originally created 07/21/98

SunTrust office gains despite higher costs



SunTrust Bank's Augusta office is reporting a 5 percent increase in second quarter income over the previous year despite heavy expenses to ready its computer system for 2000.

The bank, which also oversees operations in Columbia and McDuffie counties, reported second quarter net income of $2.038 million, a 4.9 percent increase from the same period last year.

Bank President Bill Thompson also reports loans are up 9 percent and deposits are up 6 percent.

"We're very pleased with our growth," he said. "I think it reflects a good local economy."

Preparing to avoid the so-called "millennium bug" has "significantly" reduced the bank's second quarter income, Mr. Thompson said.

The reprogramming of bank computers to recognize 2000 will continue throughout the year, he said, adding that he expects the expenditures to cut into earnings during the next two quarters as well.

Augusta's bank offices are affiliated with SunTrust Banks, Inc., a corporation owning and operating more than 650 banks in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Alabama.

On a corporate-wide level, SunTrust Banks, Inc., reported diluted earnings per share increased 14.3 percent during the second quarter and 14.6 percent for the first six months of 1998 compared to the same periods of 1997.

Quarterly net income was a record $185 million, or 88 cents per share, compared with $165.4 million, or 77 cents per share, from the previous year.

Net income for the first six months was $365.9 million, or $173 per share, compared to $326.5 million, or $1.51 per share, for the first half of 1997.

The average annualized returns on average assets and averaged realized equity were 1.32 percent and 21.8 percent, respectively for the first three months and 1.3 percent and 21.8 percent for the first six months respectively.

As of June 30, total assets of SunTrust were $61.4 billion, a 10.7 percent increase above last year.