Bruce Jones leaves banking, considers politics

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Longtime Rowan County banker Bruce Jones is exiting the business and the bank he helped form to join his wife’s property management and realty company, according to a press release issued Tuesday by Piedmont Community Bank Holdings.
Jones told the Post Tuesday afternoon that he and his wife hope to triple the size of her company, Rebecca Jones Realty Inc., which she established in the mid-1990s.
He already has an office set up and is starting classes toward earning his real estate license.
“Rebecca and her team have built a substantial property management company,” Jones said, “and I look forward to working with her to expand not only the residential property management portion of the company but also expand the company into commercial property management.”
As part of his leaving Community Bank of Rowan, Jones has agreed to a two-year, non-compete agreement during which he cannot be involved in banking in Rowan and Cabarrus counties.
Meanwhile, Jones is giving strong consideration to running for Rep. Fred Steen’s N.C. House seat and has been approached by local Republicans wanting him to run for the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
Steen plans to run for the 8th District congressional seat, which would leave the 76th N.C. House District seat open.
At Community Bank of Rowan, Seamus Donaldson will succeed Jones as market president for Rowan, a press release said. Jones said Donaldson had been his right-hand man at Community Bank of Rowan, which came to being under Jones’ leadership in 2006.
Jones served as president and chief executive officer. Donaldson was the bank’s senior vice president and chief credit officer before his promotion.
Piedmont Community Bank Holdings acquired 100 percent of Community Bank of Rowan in April 2011. The company said in October it was buying VantageSouth Bank of Burlington and planned to merge it with the Rowan bank. A company spokeswoman said the merger should be completed early this year.
Jones said he and the board of directors of Community Bank of Rowan will continue to serve on the new bank board of VantageSouth Bank.
Jones started in the banking business in 1978. He came to Rowan County in 1989 and became chairman, president and chief executive officer of Rowan Federal Savings and Loan, with assets of $34 million.
He converted the savings and loan to Rowan Bank, a state savings bank and stock institution, and sold stock to local investors.
Jones and his team grew Rowan Bank to $165 million in assets before First National Bank of Asheboro made a purchase offer — at such a high premium, Jones said — that the board decided to sell in the best interest of shareholders.
Because of a non-compete agreement, Jones was out of banking for a year, but he said he missed it so much he resurfaced to start Community Bank of Rowan in February 2006.
The bank grew to $140 million in assets and became profitable in two years. In 2011, Piedmont Community Bank Holdings purchased the outstanding shares. Jones said Tuesday a payment made last April 19, combined with one scheduled 18 months later should allow the original investors to receive back their investment, plus a premium. “Bruce Jones has had an immeasurable impact on this community both through his three decades of service in the banking industry and through his involvement in more than 30 community boards, committees and non-profit organizations,” Scott Custer, CEO of Piedmont, said in the press release. “We thank him for this and wish him the best of luck as he enters the next phase of his career.”
Jones, 57, also has served a stint on the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education..
He said he loved giving back to the community and has been blessed by all of the friends he has made through his career. “Banking has been extremely good for me,” Jones said, but after establishing and heading two banks, he saw it as a good time for a change.
A Salisbury native, Donaldson is dedicated to keeping Rowan’s focus on the immediate Salisbury-Rowan area and “sees the importance of continuing the bank’s efforts to support and cater to the needs of the community,” the company press release said.
Donaldson has more than 12 years of experience in banking, all in the Rowan market. He started his career at Citizens Bank.
“Being appointed as market president of Rowan is a huge honor and responsibility to our customers,” Donaldson said in the press release. “We will miss Bruce as he has dedicated so much of his time building the bank into what it is today. I will strive to serve the Salisbury/Rowan community in much the same way he did.”
As of September 2011, Community Bank of Rowan had 23 employees at branches in Salisbury and China Grove. The bank offers services in personal banking, business banking, mortgages, refinancing, construction lending and online banking.