01/14/18 — First South Bank to be renamed CresCom Bank after acquisition

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First South Bank to be renamed CresCom Bank after acquisition

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on January 14, 2018 3:05 AM

First South Bank will be renamed CresCom Bank in March at its 28 locations, including Goldsboro, signifying the merger of two financial institutions.

First South Bank customers were recently notified of the change, which follows the Nov. 1 acquisition of First South Bancorp by the Carolina Financial Corp., said Bruce Elder, president of North Carolina banking for CresCom.

"It is an acquisition," Elder said. "We like to think of it as a partnership."

Elder is the former chief executive officer of First South Bank, headquartered in Washington.

Prior to the merger, as reported in March 2017, First South Bank had $1 billion in assets, gross loans of $730 million and deposits of $920 million.

The acquisition results in the combined company having close to $3.2 billion in assets, $2.2 billion in loans and $2.5 billion in assets.

The transaction will further solidify Carolina Financial's position as one of the largest community banks in the Carolinas, according to a company statement.

"We are excited about the opportunity to enhance our scale in North Carolina and to enter Raleigh and Durham, two of the fastest growing markets in the Southeastm as a result of this partnership," said Jerry Rexroad, Carolina Financial chief executive officer.

The former First South Bank operates 28 locations in North Carolina, including many in the eastern part of the state. There are several Wayne County locations, including bank sites in Goldsboro and Mount Olive.

First South Bank branches also operate in nearby cities, including Kinston, Wilson and Greenville.

Since November, First South has been operating as CresCom Bank, without any name change at the branches. The company is undergoing a meger of data, which will be finished in March, Elder said. During the second weekend in March, the bank signs at the 28 locations are planned to change to CresCom, Elder said.

"Today, the old First South Bank is actually CresCom Bank doing business as First South Bank," Elder said.

First South customers received an initial welcome letter from the company and more detailed information will be mailed within the next month, Elder said.

First South's 28 branch locations will remain open and none are planned to close. There is a planned merger of CresCom and First South banks in Wilmington and in Elizabethtown, he said. No layoffs are planned.

"All 28 of these branches are going to continue to operate post conversion," Elder said. "These banks are coming together and there's no expectation of an employee layoff.

"I would say 90 percent of our employee base is going to remain with CresCom."

Elder said the acquisition will lead to a stronger combined company.

"We're taking our time to create a bank that's better than either one standing by themselves," Elder said. "We're taking the best of both banks and putting them into one bank," Elder said.