First Bank acquires Asheville company

Published 6:03 pm Monday, October 2, 2017

First Bank officially acquired Asheville Savings Bank Inc. as of Sunday, according to a Monday press release announcing the deal.

Headquartered in Southern Pines, First Bank has about 100 locations across North Carolina, two of which are in Washington and Belhaven. With this transaction, the company acquired 13 more branches in the western part of the state.

The acquisition was announced in May. With the approximately $175 million transaction, First Bank will become the largest community bank based in N.C., according to the release. It also has several locations in South Carolina.

“All ASB customers and branches will become part of First Bank, although they will continue to operate under the ASB name until the merger of all operating systems is completed in March 2018,” the release states. This acquisition is not expected to significantly affect the branches in the eastern part of the state.

First Bank is quickly expanding its footprint across the Carolinas. Most recently, the company acquired Carolina Bank locations in the Triad area earlier this year.

In October 2016, First Bank opened its newest branch location in Washington. At the time, the Washington branch was the ninth of such openings across the state since July 2016.

“We are very pleased with (Monday’s) announcement that our merger with ASB Bancorp is now official. We welcome our new customers, associates and shareholders to First Bank,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Moore said in a statement.

A Washington-based representative of First Bank was not immediately available for comment Monday.