ServisFirst Bancshares in Birmingham, Ala., which went public last spring, reported a 27% increase in earnings, to $15 million, in the fourth quarter. It also announced plans to expand into South Carolina.

Net interest income rose 14%, to $34.5 million, as loan volume grew enough to offset tighter spreads. Loan volume rose 18%, to $3.4 billion; the net interest margin fell 11 basis points, to 3.56%.

Noninterest income increased 31%, to $3.1 million, and noninterest expense grew by 7%, to $13.1 million.

Meanwhile, ServisFirst announced the hiring of Tom Trouche as executive vice president and regional chief executive of Charleston, S.C. ServisFirst will file an application with regulators to open a branch there, CEO Tom Broughton said in a news release this week that also included its quarterly results.

Trouche's job will be to establish a presence for the bank in Charleston and hire a staff of veteran lenders. Trouche has spent 25 years in banking, most recently as an executive vice president at First Citizens Bank.

ServisFirst currently has branches in several Alabama cities and in Pensacola, Fla., according to the websites of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the company. It plans to complete the acquisition of Metro Bancshares in Atlanta by the end of this month.

The $4.1 billion-asset ServisFirst is the holding company for ServisFirst Bank. It raised $52.5 million in net proceeds from its IPO in May.

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