NEW YORK -- Fitch Investors Service Inc. said it put the long-term and short-term certificate of deposit ratings of Southern National Bank of North Carolina on its alert list, with negative implications. The action follows an announcement last week by the bank's parent company, Southern National Corp., that it plans to acquire First Savings Bank of Greenville, S.C.

The acquisition, scheduled to be completed early next year, will boost consolidated assets by roughly 40% and result in significant increases in nonperforming assets and balance sheet leverage. But it noted that the First Savings transaction is more than five times larger than any other merger the company has undertaken to date and, along with other pending acquisitions, will reduce consolidated equity to approximately 7.2% of June 30 assets on a proforma basis from its reported level of 8.7%.

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