The Bbank job

Disaster. Perseverance. Disappointment. Redemption. North American Financial Holdings Inc.’s ascent from abstract business plan to the state’s fifth-largest financial institution in less than a year has the narrative arc of a blockbuster movie, and we’ve provided the storyboards.
Illustration by Tim Foley

 

I. December 2007. Gene Taylor retires as vice chairman and president of global corporate and investment banking of Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. following his division’s 93% drop in year-over-year third-quarter profit.


II. Mid-November 2009. Over lunch in New York with Chris Marshall, another former BofA executive, he hatches a plan to create a holding company that will sift through the ashes of the financial crisis for undercapitalized and failed banks.


III. Late November 2009. Taylor, Marshall and a newly assembled team travel to London, New York, San Francisco and elsewhere seeking investors. They raise nearly $1 billion for acquisitions and charter NAFH, based for regulatory purposes in Miami but operating out of Charlotte.


IV. May 2010. Two bids by NAFH fail to win banks shuttered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.


V. July 2010. At the airport in Fort Myers, Fla., where they’ve flown to buy TIB Financial Corp., Taylor and Marshall get a call from the FDIC: NAFH has won three failed banks — two in Florida, one in South Carolina. In a weekend, assets zoom from zero to $3 billion, including the TIB investment.


VI. October 2010. It agrees to buy Raleigh-based Capital Bank Corp. for $181 million, making NAFH, with $5 billion of assets, North Carolina’s fifth-largest financial institution.


VII. July 2011. After buying Greeneville, Tenn.-based Green Bankshares Inc. — its latest purchase pending shareholder and regulatory approval — assets will exceed $7 billion. Big but not big enough: NAFH plans to go public, raising $300 million to buy more banks, and will consolidate under the Capital Bank brand the nearly 145 branches it already has.