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Bank of Asheville Ranked Forth In NC

ASHEVILE, NC – For the quarter ended 12/31/08, Weststar Financial Services Corporation, parent company of The Bank of Asheville, was ranked fourth in performance and 17th in valuation out of 38 banks in North Carolina by Davenport and Company, LLC in their Davenport Community Bank Quarterly. Financial institutions included in the report ranged in size from $64 million to $1.8 trillion. Davenport’s model is somewhat similar to bank regulators’ CAMELS System, which evaluates a bank’s financial condition in six areas: Capital, Asset Quality, Management, Earnings, Liquidity and Sensitivity to Market Risk. Their methodology ranked banks according to five categories: profitability, capital, liquidity, asset quality and valuation. The first four categories address company fundamentals and are combined to establish a performance ranking. The valuation ranking is based on price to book value, price to last twelve months earnings and dividend yield.

Bank of Asheville exceeded the median in all five ratios used for computing profitability: return on assets, return on equity, efficiency, operating revenue growth and net earnings per share growth. For capital ratios, the Bank exceeded the median in loan loss reserve to loans and tangible equity to assets. The Bank also outperformed its peers in all categories of asset quality, and one of the two liquidity measures (borrowings/deposits + borrowings).

Gordon Greenwood, President and CEO stated, “We are extremely pleased with the results reflected in the Davenport Report, which evaluates banks in a number of areas other than growth in assets. This report confirms our values and goals in establishing a financial institution for the long-term that provides above market return to our shareholders, exceptional quality service for our customers, and rewarding career opportunities to our associates. We thank our customers, shareholders and associates for their support that has made it possible for us to achieve these results. We remain committed to the future as the local community bank and in the opportunities that will be available to improve upon these accomplishments of past years.”

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