BB&T Corporation, Winston-Salem, N.C., has lowered its earnings estimate for this year to reflect the impact that "fluctuating interest rates" have had on its mortgage operation. Management now expects earnings per share for 2004 to be $2.75 to $2.90 excluding the impact of merger-related charges. Previous guidance was $2.85 to $2.95. John Allison, BB&T's chairman and CEO, said, "fluctuations in interest rates are producing unexpected pressure on mortgage banking operations." Specifically, he said originations have been slower than expected in the first quarter, while falling rates have impaired the value of BB&T's mortgage servicing rights.

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