The owner of First Federal of Charleston today posted a profit of $14.6 million in its latest quarter, compared to net income of $210,000 for the same period of 2010, First Financial Holdings Inc said.

The results account for dividends paid on shares of First Financial preferred stock held by U.S. Treasury under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

North Charleston-based First Financial attributed the improvement in profits to its $81 million sale in October of $197.9 million in loans. The deal resulted in a pre-tax gain of $20.8 million.

“The successful completion of the bulk loan sale during this quarter marked yet another strategic initiative in the transformation of our company and has positioned First Financial to produce improved results for our shareholders,” said R. Wayne Hall, president and chief executive officer of First Financial and First Federal.

First Federal is the largest and oldest bank based in the Charleston region.