Community banks are busy with mergers and acquisitions

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Print this page by Robert Powell
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Robert Aston is chairman and CEO of TowneBank.
Photo by Mark Rhodes

Last year saw little change at the top of the list of Virginia’s biggest banks in terms of deposits. A number of shifts, however, took place among community banks.

At the beginning of 2014, Richmond-based Union Bankshares completed the merger of Stellar One and Union First Market banks following Union’s acquisition of Charlottesville-based Stellar One Corp.

The $445 million deal created Virginia’s largest community bank with $7 billion in assets and $5.7 billion in deposits.

In February 2014, West Virginia-based United Bankshares completed its acquisition of  Arlington-based Virginia Commerce Bancorp in a deal valued at $490.6 million. Virginia Commerce, the holding company for Virginia Commerce Bank, had $2.8 billion in assets. 

Early this year, Hampton Roads-based TowneBank acquired Richmond-based Franklin Financial Corp., the parent company of Franklin Federal Savings Bank, in a $275 million deal.

TowneBank was founded in 1999 while Franklin Federal opened its doors more than 80 years ago, in 1933. Nonetheless, the companies said they shared a common corporate culture and approach to customer service.

With the Franklin acquisition, total assets for the combined companies stood at more than $6 billion and deposits totaled more than $4 billion.

In addition, several banks in Virginia are acquiring branches being shed by Charlotte-based Bank of America.

Strasburg-based First Bank is buying six branches in the Shenandoah Valley, boosting its total number of offices to 16 and increasing its deposits by $308 million to $827 million.

Likewise, Raleigh, N.C.-based HomeTrust Bank acquired 10 Bank of America locations in Virginia and North Carolina in June, six of which are in the Roanoke Valley. First Community Bancshares in Bluefield, the holding company for First Community Bank, also bought six branches, including one in Blacksburg,

Bank of America has reduced its number of branches from more than 6,000 nationwide five years ago to fewer than 5,000 today as customers switch to online and mobile banking, according to Charlottesville-based SNL Financial.


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