Tuesday, December 16, 2014

HomeTrust hires president to lead expansion in Charlotte

Asheville's HomeTrust Bancshares said this week it has hired a market president to lead the lender's expansion in Charlotte, which it entered by acquiring Charlotte's Bank of Commerce earlier this year.

HomeTrust, the holding company for HomeTrust Bank, said longtime Charlotte-area banker Jeff Mylton will officially take on the new position Jan. 1. Mylton was most recently with Fifth Third Bank.

Jeff Mylton
The hiring comes after HomeTrust Bank entered the coveted Charlotte market this summer through its roughly $10 million acquisition of Bank of Commerce. Before that deal, HomeTrust had locations as close as Cherryville, Shelby and Lexington but none in Mecklenburg County.

The Bank of Commerce deal is part of HomeTrust's recent expansion efforts. In January, HomeTrust said it would acquire Jefferson Bancshares Inc. in East Tennessee. Last month, HomeTrust announced that it completed its acquisition of 10 Bank of America branches in Virginia and Eden, N.C.

"Entering the Charlotte market was critical to growing our N.C. franchise and further supports our strategic growth plan as a regional community bank," HomeTrust President Dana Stonestreet said in a statement. "Jeff Mylton's experience and reputation will be critical in bringing HomeTrust Bank to the market and growing commercial relationships."

By mid-February, HomeTrust Bank plans to complete the re-branding of Bank of Commerce's former headquarters on Queens Road, where Bank of Commerce also had its only branch.

The Bank of Commerce deal brought an end to a one-branch bank that was founded in 2006 by Charlotte community banker Wes Sturges and that focused on commercial clients.

It also marked yet another consolidation in the banking industry, which continues to see declining numbers of banks through mergers and acquisitions.

Banking industry officials say that costly post-financial crisis regulations are a large driver of those consolidations. Those new regulations, they say, are driving up costs for banks, making it harder for small ones especially to compete. They say that is pushing banks to merge or be acquired to create a bigger financial institution that can spread out the higher expenses.

HomeTrust Bancshares had $2.21 billion in assets as of the end of September. HomeTrust Bank, founded in 1926, is a community bank with operations in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Virginia.