Bank of the Ozarks has agreed to buy a community bank in Shelby, the latest inroad into the Charlotte area for the Little Rock, Ark.-based company.
In a $67.8 million deal, Bank of the Ozarks will acquire all of First National Bank of Shelby’s outstanding common stock, and take on its 14 branches across Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln and Rutherford counties. First National Bank, which opened in 1874, has $857 million in assets and $652 million of deposits.
“Customers of First National Bank can expect local decision-making and the same quality of friendly hometown banking they have long enjoyed, in addition to benefiting from a broader range of financial services,” Bank of the Ozarks CEO George Gleason said in a statement.
First National Bank has only a tiny sliver of the Charlotte metro area’s deposit share, by virtue of its three branches in Gaston County. In Shelby, it has the largest presence, with 44 percent of the market share.
Bank of the Ozarks has had a loan production office in Charlotte in 2001, but the bank hasn’t had a deposit-taking presence in the area.
“We have long had an interest in building a full-service office there,” spokeswoman Susan Blair said.
The bank is “nearing completion” of a branch on Park Road near Woodlawn Road, Charlotte metro president Cindy Wolfe said by email. It is expected to open around April 1. The bank bought the land in December 2010 for $1.9 million, county records show.
It also spent about $1.1 million last month for a spot on West Catawba Avenue in Cornelius where the bank plans to build a 3,900-square-foot branch. It’s slated to open in late 2013 or early 2014, Blair said.
The First National Bank deal has already been approved by both companies’ boards, and will be a majority-stock transaction. It must still receive approval from regulators, and is expected to close in the second or third quarter.
Bank of the Ozarks has now made nine acquisitions since 2010, seven of which were assisted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The most recent was Dec. 31, when it bought The Citizens Bank in Geneva, Ala.
Dunn: 704-358-5235 Twitter: @andrew_dunn
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