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CommunityOne Bancorp changes headquarters to Charlotte from Asheboro

CommunityOne Bancorp has quietly changed its headquarters to Charlotte from Asheboro, after a merger and renaming of the holding company this summer.

In addition, the bank holding company’s financial health is improving after posting consecutive quarters of losses for five years. On Thursday, it reported its first operating profit since the second quarter of 2008.

CommunityOne Bancorp CEO Brian Simpson called the headquarters change “just an administrative move.” CommunityOne Bank remains based in Asheboro, as do many of the company’s employees, he said.

Simpson told the Observer on Thursday that his company has had a management team and office in Charlotte, at 1017 E. Morehead St., since a $310 million recapitalization in 2011 of FNB United Corp., the former name of the holding company. The recapitalization shored up FNB’s two banks: Granite Falls-based Bank of Granite and Asheboro-based CommunityOne Bank.

In July, FNB changed its name to CommunityOne Bancorp with its merger of Bank of Granite and CommunityOne. Executives said the name change would reduce confusion in the market by creating a unified brand.

Simpson, whose primary office is in Charlotte, said the headquarters change means executives here now get their mail three days sooner than when it was initially delivered to Asheboro. The mail would then have to be sent to Charlotte.

The bank has recovered since the days that led to private investors having to inject money to save it. For the third quarter, the bank reported $4 million, or 18 cents a share, in net income, compared with a loss of $4.7 million, or 22 cents, a year ago.

“To be able to return the company to profitability ... it feels really, really good,” Simpson said. “It feels great to all of us who came into the company after raising some capital to save these two banks.”

Executives attributed the improved third-quarter results partially to higher interest income from larger loan and securities balances. Results were also helped by a $6.7 million decrease in noninterest expenses from a year ago, a decline driven in part by staff reductions in the wake of the June merger.

Also during the third quarter, federal prosecutors in Charlotte dismissed charges against CommunityOne Bank. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of North Carolina had accused the bank of not having a strong enough anti-money laundering program after a customer allegedly operated a Ponzi scheme using accounts at the bank.

Roberts: 704-358-5248; Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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