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President and CEO of Yadkin Financial Joe Towell (right) and VantageSouth President and CEO Scott Custer (left) shake hands after entering into a conclusive merger agreement.

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Originally published: 2014-01-28 18:19:00
Last modified: 2014-01-28 18:19:00

Yadkin Financial merges with VantageSouth

by Allison Haver

Clients of Yadkin Bank and Vantage-South may be banking together as soon as this fall.

On Monday, Yadkin Financial Corporation and VantageSouth Bancshares Inc. announced that the two companies have entered into a merger agreement.

With approximately $4 billion in assets and more than 70 branches across the state of North Carolina and upstate South Carolina, the combination will create the largest community bank headquartered in North Carolina, according to the two companies.

Community banks are independent, locally owned and operated institutions with assets ranging from less than $10 million to multi billion dollar institutions, as defined by Independent Community Bankers of America.

"This transaction creates significant value for the shareholders of both companies, provides greater convenience and services for our customers and transforms the banking landscape in the Carolinas," said Joe Towell, president and CEO of Yadkin Financial Corporation.

"We have taken the strengths of both companies to make a franchise that meets the needs of the state," he said.

The transaction is pending regulatory and shareholder approval. According to VantageSouth bank's website, until such approvals occur, both banks will continue to operate as two separate companies until legal close, which is expected sometime this summer with the conversion expected to take place in the fall. The shareholders' vote is expected to take place in May.

The name of the holding company will be Yadkin Financial Corporation and the name of the combined bank will be announced at a later date. The headquarters will be located in Raleigh, with banking operations in Statesville.

A 14-person board of directors, consisting of an equal number of VantageSouth and Yadkin directors, will govern the combined company.

Towell will become executive chairman of the new company, serving as chairman of the board of directors as well as a senior executive in the company. Scott Custer, VantageSouth Bancshares, Inc.'s current president and CEO, will become president and chief executive officer of the combined company and continue his service as a director.

Yadkin Financial will not close branches as a result of this transaction; however, VantageSouth officials said they will close five branches due to branch profitability and market potential.

The company is doing this in the normal course of business and not due to market overlap of the two companies, according the VantageSouth's website.
 
While VantageSouth currently does not have any branches located in the high country, Yadkin Financial has two branches in Watauga County, two branches in Ashe County and one branch located in Avery County.

 "Our companies have spent considerable time evaluating the philosophies of our two banks and the merits of this transaction and we believe we are creating a franchise with substantial upside," said Custer.

For now, customers will not face any changes related to the upcoming merger, officials said. In a statement, Vantage-South said team members from both companies would be working together during the next several months to create an integration plan that focus on providing a smooth transition for clients.

According to Yadkin Financials' website, customers can expect to receive communication during the coming months letting them know exactly what will be happening and when.