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Banking & Finance

A Look Back At Banking In 2021

By Jenny Callison, posted Dec 3, 2021
Mount Olive-based Southern Bank has an office at Mayfaire in Wilmington. (Photo by Cece Nunn)
Despite woes in some sectors of the U.S. economy, banks performed well during the FDIC fiscal year ended June 30 according to observers. In late May, Tim Adams, chief executive of the Institute of International Finance, said U.S. banks were likely to report “record level” earnings in 2021 as the American economy recovers and financial markets remain strong.
 
Almost without exception, banks in the Wilmington market showed steady deposit growth as of the most recent FDIC Market Share Report, which was published Sept. 30 and whose data reflects deposits as of June 30.
 
The FDIC 2021 report showed few real changes in area banks’ market share. The top 11 banks held their positions, with Live Oak Bank at the top of the list. Because Live Oak’s Wilmington location is its only one, deposits from customers all over the country are logged as Wilmington deposits.
 
There were some minor changes in market share rankings among the smaller banks on the list. Perhaps the biggest move was made by Mount Olive, North Carolina-based Southern Bank, which went from local deposits of $38.9 million and market share of 0.25% in 2020 to local deposits of $64.7 million and market share of 0.36% in 2021.
 
Less than a year after opening its first full-service branch in Wilmington, First Carolina Bank debuted on the 2021 FDIC market share report for the Wilmington market at No. 17. The Rocky Mount-based community bank logged local deposits of $61.3 million, a 0.34% market share.
 
First Carolina is rated as the fastest organically growing bank in the U.S. over the five-year period ending in December 2020, based on composite growth in assets, loans and deposits, the bank’s President and CEO Ronald Day said during a recent visit to Wilmington.
 
Bank consolidation continued in North Carolina during 2021. Two acquisitions involved three banks in the Wilmington market.
 
Officials of Southern Pines, North Carolina-based First Bancorp announced June 2 that their company, the parent of First Bank, had signed an agreement to acquire Dunn, North Carolina-based Select Bancorp in an all-stock transaction of about $314 million. The deal closed Oct. 15. The merger, according to the officials, solidified First Bank’s position as the leading community bank headquartered in North Carolina, with total assets of over $10 billion and more than 120 branches.
 
Select Bank had one branch in Wilmington and one in Leland. The addition of those two brings First Bank’s number of area branches to 11. Select Bank customer accounts are expected to be incorporated into First Bank’s data systems by March 2022, according to a news release.
 
The second transaction was Greenville, South Carolina-based United Community Banks Inc.’s acquisition of Cornelius, North Carolina- based Aquesta Bank, which had one location in Wilmington. That transaction closed Oct. 1.
 
As of June 30, Aquesta ranked 18th in the Wilmington market, with local deposits of just over $31 million, a .17% share of the market.
 
Additionally, Customers Bank, headquartered in Reading, Pennsylvania, is one of the new banks moving into the Carolinas, first in Wilmington as a launching point.
 
Once Customers Bank settles into Wilmington, its officials will consider other locations such as Greenville, North Carolina; Greenville, South Carolina; Fayetteville, Asheville and Charleston, South Carolina.
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