First South Bank to be acquired by Charleston-based corporation

Published 11:30 am Monday, June 12, 2017

First South Bank announced it will be acquired by Charleston-based Carolina Financial Corp., the holding company of CresCom Bank.

“Upon completion of the acquisition, the combined company will have approximately $3.2 billion in assets, $2.2 billion in loans and $2.5 billion in deposits. This transaction will further solidify Carolina Financial’s position as one of the largest Carolinas-based community banks,” according to a Monday morning press release.

The merger is expected to reach completion by the fourth quarter of 2017. Bruce Elder, current chief executive officer of First South, will be named president of North Carolina banking for Carolina Financial, according to the release.

“We have been having conversations with Carolina Financial Corp. for about, right around six months,” Elder said. “It was a negotiated transaction, so we kind of found each other, and for us, you know, we have been striving to become a high-performing community bank for the last several years.”

When it comes to changes at the local level, Elder said it was too soon to tell the extent of changes at this time, but customers can expect to see the same employees.

Customers will notice a name change, but that won’t become effective likely until January, he added.

“It’s an exciting time for us,” Elder said. “Our employees are going to have some new opportunities.”

According to Elder, both companies want to take their time in completing the merger, tackling it from what he calls a “best of breed approach.” He said the companies want to make sure they combine resources and products to bring optimum success for the company and its customers and shareholders.

“Putting these two companies together is going to be a lengthy process, and we’re going to take our time to make sure we do everything right,” he said.

CresCom Bank is a growing financial company with locations in North and South Carolina. Parent company Carolina Financial also acquired Congaree Bancshares Inc. in mid-2016 and Greer Bancshares Inc. in March.

First South operates 28 banking locations in eastern North Carolina and the Research Triangle. It is based in Washington. As of March 31, the company reported $1 billion in assets, $730 million of gross loans and $920 million of deposits.

Read the full release HERE.