Tuesday, November 26, 2013

N.C. sheds banks at fastest pace in two decades

North Carolina has lost more banks to consolidation or failure in the past year than it has in almost two decades, federal data released Tuesday shows.

The state had 79 banks as of the end of the third quarter, according to a report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. That's down from 92 at the same time period last year -- a decline of 13 banks.

That's the most precipitous drop since 1995, when North Carolina lost 14 banks from the year before to decline to 128.

A good part of the decline in the past year can be attributed to the long-expected wave of bank mergers finally coming to fruition. Since last September, Charlotte-based Park Sterling Bank bought Citizens South, Bank of North Carolina bought Charlotte-based First Trust, Bank of the Ozarks bought First National Bank of Shelby, NewBridge Bancorp bought CapStone Bank, among several other deals.

Meanwhile, a few banks have failed. Asheville's Pisgah Community Bank failed in May, and Lenoir-based Parkway Bank closed in April.

The number of bankers in the state has fallen as well. The FDIC reported 206,554 employees of the state's banks this year, down nearly 8 percent from the year before.

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