Thursday, October 31, 2013

CommunityOne Bancorp returns to profitability

CommunityOne Bancorp has posted its first operating profit since 2008, the Asheboro-based bank said Thursday in announcing third-quarter results.

Executives attributed the improved third-quarter results partially to higher interest income from larger loan and securities balances. Results were also helped by a $6.7 million decrease in noninterest expenses from a year ago, a decline driven in part by staff reductions in the wake of the bank's June merger with Bank of Granite.

The bank reported $4 million, or 18 cents a share, in net income, compared with a loss of $4.7 million, or 22 cents, a year ago.

“Obviously we are very pleased with our return to profitability," CEO Brian Simpson said in a statement. “This quarter marks an inflection point for our company."

In May, FNB United Corp., the Asheboro-based parent company of CommunityOne and Granite Falls-based Bank of Granite, received regulator approval for to formally combine the two banks. FNB had operated them since they were pushed together in a 2011 recapitalization meant to save the two struggling lenders. The merger was completed after regulators released Bank of Granite and CommunityOne from consent orders earlier this year.

Also during the third quarter, federal prosecutors in Charlotte dismissed charges against CommunityOne. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of North Carolina had accused the bank of not having a strong enough anti-money laundering program after a customer allegedly operated a Ponzi scheme using accounts at the bank.

In July, FNB changed its name to CommunityOne Bancorp, which has since shifted its headquarters to Charlotte, where it's executives where already based since the recapitalization. All of its branches now operate under the CommunityOne name.

The merger also gave CommunityOne a presence in Charlotte. It has 53 branches in North Carolina.

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