Though big banks dominate, community banks have still been able to carve out a niche in Mecklenburg County.
Taken together, community banks headquartered in the Carolinas totaled 18 percent of the county’s deposits, excluding deposits in uptown’s “megabranches.” That share has been declining over the past few years, according to an Observer analysis of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.
While there isn’t a strict definition of what constitutes a community bank, the label generally refers to those with less than about $2 billion in assets and a small geographic footprint.
Seventeen Carolinas community banks operated in Mecklenburg as of the FDIC’s last deposit survey, the data shows. Park Sterling Bank, with just under 3 percent of the county’s deposits, has the largest share in that category. It will likely be slightly larger in next year’s data, since the bank has since acquired Gastonia-based Citizens South Banking Corp.
Bank of North Carolina will also likely be close after its acquisition of Charlotte-based First Trust Bank.
Park Sterling Bank president Bryan Kennedy attributed his bank’s leading position among community banks to its visible locations, preponderance of local shareholders, and a technology system comparable to that of a big bank. Park Sterling was launched in 2006, so it was able to start out with a number of features that would have been more difficult to upgrade to.
Kennedy said the bank generally gets its deposits from the commercial side. That translates to more personal customers as well, he said.
“If we do a good job banking the company, then hopefully we can also bank some of the employees of the company,” he said.