Charlotte is set to lose the headquarters of yet another bank, shrinking the figure to just two, in an acquisition announced Friday of community lender Carolina Premier Bank.
The planned purchase by Select Bancorp, headquartered in the North Carolina city of Dunn about 130 miles east of Charlotte, is expected to close before the end of the year. Boards of both companies have already approved the approximately $40 million deal, which still needs regulatory and shareholder approvals.
For Charlotte, it means Bank of America and NewDominion Bank are poised to be the only banks headquartered in a city known for its large financial services sector. That could be the case if two other deals announced this year – one involving Capital Bank, the other involving Park Sterling Bank – go through as planned.
Former Carolina Premier chief executive John Kreighbaum launched the Ballantyne-based company in 2007, with a focus on the growing south Charlotte market. Carolina Premier has four banking offices: one in Charlotte and three in Rock Hill, Blacksburg and Six Mile, S.C.
The deal is expected to grow Select Bank, which has no branches in the Charlotte area, to 18 branches from 13 currently as its footprint spreads west and into northern South Carolina. Its assets are expected to expand to more than $1 billion when combined with those of Carolina Premier, which reported $259 million in the first three months of this year.
Carolina Premier CEO David Barksdale told the Observer the deal resulted from the company’s focus on ways to maximize shareholder value. He said the combined company will still be a community bank but a larger one positioned to better serve customers.
He said it’s too early to tell how Charlotte-area employees might be affected by the deal. He also said the companies have not disclosed whether he will have a role with the combined company.
The dwindling number of banks headquartered in Charlotte has been a key factor in the city’s loss of its title as the nation’s second-largest banking center to San Francisco. As the Observer first reported in May, growth in San Francisco’s financial sector enabled it to push Charlotte to No. 3, based on value of loans and other assets held by banks headquartered in the respective cities.
In 2007, Charlotte was home base to eight banks – a list that included Wachovia, which nearly collapsed in the 2008 financial crisis before San Francisco-based Wells Fargo bought it.
“Charlotte is an attractive market for banks, regardless of where folks are headquartered,” Barksdale said. “Which is why you are seeing banks want to come in here.”