A group of Union County business leaders is working to launch a new bank in Monroe, potentially giving North Carolina its first startup bank since 2009.
The group is led by homebuilder David Cuthbertson and has hired former community bank CEO Randy Helton and well-known banking attorney Tony Gaeta to assist in the creation of the new bank, the group told the Observer Wednesday. The group, which would need a variety of regulatory approvals, did not provide a time-frame.
Helton founded American Community Bank in Monroe in 1998 and expanded it to $525 million in assets before a merger with Yadkin Bank in 2009. Yadkin is now part of Pittsburgh-based FNB Corp. after a deal that closed last year. Gaeta is a retired banking attorney who has advised on more than 30 bank formations.
The creation of new banks in the state dried up after the financial crisis as community banks struggled with bad loans and rising regulatory costs. Charlotte will soon be down to just one bank headquartered in the city – banking behemoth Bank of America – after a series of deals absorbing other locally based banks.
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Last month, an Ohio-based bank agreed to buy Charlotte-based NewDominion Bank, the last community bank still headquartered in the city.
The purchase of local community banks by out-of-state institutions can mean the introduction of new products and services, and the potential for larger loans. But it also means it’s harder for local customers to talk to the CEO of the bank when they’re seeking credit.
The last new bank to start up in the state was Jacksonville’s Coastal Bank and Trust in 2009, said North Carolina Commissioner of Banks Ray Grace.
The Union County group’s proposal will be subject to minimum capital requirements, and regulatory approvals from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the N.C. Banking Commission, the group said. The organizers have also hired Todd Eveson of the Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton law firm in Raleigh to assist with the effort. Eveson has been involved in 20 successful bank formations, the group said.