NCBT branches to get new name: South State Bank

02/17/2014 5:35 PM

02/17/2014 5:36 PM

North Carolina Bank & Trust branches in Charlotte will soon have a new name, reflecting the evolution and growth of their parent company across the state line.

Executives also hope the change will pave the way for further expansion through acquisitions across the state.

NCBT’s three branches in Charlotte and South Carolina Bank & Trust locations across that state will be combined into one brand and name – South State Bank, parent company First Financial Holdings announced Monday.

“It’s time to bring everything together under one name and have one regional focus and position ourselves in the Southeast as a strong regional player,” CEO Robert Hill said in an interview Monday.

The name change comes after a string of acquisitions that made the company formerly known as SCBT Financial Corp. into the largest bank headquarted in South Carolina.

The company entered North Carolina in 2007 by purchasing The Scottish Bank, renaming it North Carolina Bank & Trust. In summer 2013, the bank bought Charleston’s First Financial Holdings and its $3 billion in assets. The combined company took on the First Financial name.

Those deals and other smaller purchases left First Financial Holdings with five bank brands across three states.

“We’re just taking the time now to unify the brands,” Hill said.

The First Financial name will also be changed to South State Corp., pending shareholder approval.

Combined, South State’s banks have $8 billion in assets and 139 branches across the Carolinas and Georgia. Hill said the bank hopes to be the “consolidator of choice” as community banks in the region look to sell.

NCBT President Robin Lyle said the goal is to make North Carolina as significant to the company as the state’s neighbor to the south.

“We look to North Carolina as the next step in a natural evolution,” he said.

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