First Citizens to buy western NC bank

Posted August 28, 2013

— First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. said Wednesday that it has agreed to buy Hendersonville-based 1st Financial Services Corp. and its Mountain 1st Bank & Trust Co. commercial banking unit for $10 million.

Shareholders of 1st Financial Services will receive $2 million in the deal, and the remaining $8 million will be paid to the U.S. Treasury to end the bank's participation in TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program the federal government set up during the recession to help banks clear bad mortgages off their books.

"This agreement is a significant opportunity for us to expand our presence in our home state of North Carolina," First Citizens Chairman and Chief Executive Frank Holding Jr. said in a statement. "We currently have a vibrant branch network and customer base throughout western North Carolina, and we look forward to the prospects of building on this foundation in an important market for us."

Mountain 1st has two branches Hendersonville and one each in Asheville, Brevard, Columbus, Etowah, Fletcher, Forest City, Hickory, Marion, Shelby and Waynesville. 1st Financial Services had $692 million in assets, $669 million in deposits and $363 million in loans as of June 30.

The deal must be approved by the boards of all three companies and by banking regulators. It is expected to close by next March, at the latest.


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