REGIONALREPORT TriadTriad banks are blossoming
Charlotte may be the banking capital of the state, but the Triad has two of the top-performing financial institutions, according to the N.C. commissioner of banks’ 2011 annual report. As expected, Winston-Salem-based BB&T Corp. was the most profitable state-chartered bank last year, earning more than $1 billion. More surprising was that two of the five fastest-growing institutions were Premier Commercial Bank and VantageSouth Bank, community banks based in the Triad that experienced asset growth of more than 30%.
Burlington-based VantageSouth owes its increase to being acquired by Raleigh-based Piedmont Community Bank Holdings Inc. in 2010. The deal injected $8 million into VantageSouth, more than doubling its capital. “We were in a position to lend money in Alamance County,” CEO Steven Jones says. “In today’s environment, a lot of community banks are having a problem with their capital position.” Premier Commercial in Greensboro wasn’t one of those banks. It was founded in 2008, which means it was never bogged down by the real-estate loans that hurt so many of its peers. “Being fortunate with timing and luck is a great thing,” CEO Frank Gavigan says. “Nobody ought to turn their nose up at that.”
Both were part of a rebounding banking market in North Carolina, says the annual report. Cumulatively, net charge offs, noncurrent loans and leases and foreclosed real-estate collateral were down, while profit and assets were up compared with 2010. Much of the recovery is due to shrinking reserves to cover problem loans and nonperforming assets. “That was way down last year,” says Harry Davis, North Carolina Bankers Association professor of banking at Appalachian State University. “Banks are now setting aside smaller reserves, so their profitability is improving.”
HIGH POINT — Call-center operator NCO Customer Management will close its operations here, laying off 685 workers. The Horsham, Penn.-based company told officials it was closing because of client business needs.
GREENSBORO — Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen filed a suit against several mortgage servicers, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, asking that they “clean up the mess” in county property records created by faulty foreclosure procedures. The suit targets “robo-signing” practices the banks used.
WINSTON-SALEM — BB&T announced a revised agreement to purchase Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based BankAtlantic to overcome a judge’s objections to the sale. It will assume BankAtlantic’s obligation of $285 million in trust-preferred securities as part of the modified deal.
MOCKSVILLE — Nasdaq delisted Bank of the Carolinas because the market value of its shares fell below the stock market’s minimum of $5 million for too long. The company plans to offer shares on the OTC Pink market and will not appeal the ruling.
GREENSBORO — The City Council approved $22,000 in incentives for Piedmont Pharmaceuticals, which plans to invest $146,500 and add 22 jobs to its 15 here within five years. The company makes head-lice treatments for humans and chewable medications for cats and dogs. The average annual salary will be $117,000, higher than Guilford County’s average of $39,520.