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Community Bank of Rowan would become VantageSouth if deal goes through

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Community Bank of Rowan will become VantageSouth Bank if a proposed merger goes through.
With branches in Salisbury and China Grove, Community Bank of Rowan will retain all employees and local decision making, as well as a hometown feel, Chief Executive Officer Bruce Jones said.
“All the folks who have been here and built this bank from the beginning are going to be here and take care of customers, just like we always have,” said Jones, who would become market president for VantageSouth.
Raleigh-based Piedmont Community Bank Holdings, the majority owner of Community Bank of Rowan, wants to merge the bank into VantageSouth, which is based in Burlington. Government regulators and VantageSouth shareholders need to approve the restructuring.
Piedmont Community Bank Holdings concluded the purchase of Community Bank of Rowan in April. Last year, Piedmont also bought 62 percent of VantageSouth’s shares and has a pending agreement to buy the rest.
Once limited by regulators to loans of up to $1.5 million, Community Bank of Rowan can lend up to $2.5 million since Piedmont’s purchase. The proposed merger with VantageSouth would again boost the loan size “drastically,” Jones said, giving Community Bank of Rowan the ability to handle larger customers.
Community Bank of Rowan opened in 2006 and focuses on small business lending. It ranks third in the state for Small Business Administration loans and fifth in Rowan County out of 14 banks for deposits.
If approved, the merger could be completed by the end of the year.
After the merger, VantageSouth would be the “surviving bank” with combined boards of directors and management teams from both banks serving the new financial institution.
Piedmont Community Bank Holdings will own substantially all the voting stock in the new bank.
The merger is a natural progression, Jones said. In addition to pursuing VantageSouth, Piedmont is in the process of securing regulatory approval to buy Crescent State Bank, which has more than a dozen branches in Raleigh, he said.
The name “Community Bank of Rowan” wouldn’t work in the new markets, which potentially include Raleigh and Burlington, Jones said.
While the name will change, Community Bank will continue to serve Rowan County residents and businesses, he said.
With access to substantially more capital since April, the bank is “back out in the market now with the ability to lend again,” Jones said. “We have millions to lend.”
If all proposed mergers go through, the new VantageSouth will emerge with roughly $1.2 billion in total assets.
“The bottom line is, the more capital we have access to, the more ability we have to grow our bank,” Jones said.
As of June 30, Community Bank of Rowan had about $145 million in assets, $124 million in deposits and $17 million in equity. Visit www.communitybankofrowan.com for more information.
VantageSouth has two locations in Burlington. As of June 30, the bank had approximately $91 million in assets, $73 million in deposits, and $9 million in equity. Visit www.vantagesouth.com for more information.
Unlike Bank of America and other institutions, Community Bank of Rowan will not charge $5 fees on debit cards and will continue to offer free checking, Jones said.
“We’re going to have as a community bank an advantage in the marketplace,” he said. “Combining with other community banks gives us all more strength.”
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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