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McClatchy-Tribune  07/07/2014 9:38 PM ET
VantageSouth brand to go away after bank merger [The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) :: ]

July 07--The just-completed merger of Raleigh-based VantageSouth Bank and Yadkin Bank of Statesville marks the beginning of the end of the VantageSouth brand.

In announcing the completion of their merger Monday, the two banks said the combined bank intends to operate under the Yadkin brand. Similarly, the corporate parent of the combined bank is Yadkin Financial Corp.

But the VantageSouth name won't disappear immediately. Terry Earley, previously chief financial officer of VantageSouth and now CFO of the combined bank, said the name change for VantageSouth's 41 branches is targeted for September.

September is also when the combined bank will move to a single software system -- the one that has been used by VantageSouth, Earley said.

The merger, announced in January, creates a bank with 74 branches in North Carolina and South Carolina, and is touted as a merger of equals. The combined company's headquarters is in Raleigh and the banking business is based in Statesville.

Scott Custer, president and CEO of VantageSouth, has the same role at the combined bank. The CEO of Yadkin Bank, Joe Towell, is executive chairman of the combined bank.

Under the terms of the deal, VantageSouth shareholders received 0.3125 shares of Yadkin Financial stock for each share they owned. Based on the closing price of Yadkin Financial shares before the deal was announced, the transaction was valued at $299 million.

VantageSouth shares are no longer trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, Yadkin shares have moved from the NASDAQ to the NYSE as of Monday, where they continue to trade under the symbol "YDKN."

Yadkin shares were trading at $19.17, down 24 cents, Monday morning. Shares have risen 12.5 percent this year.

Earley said the combined bank decided to take the Yadkin name because market research showed that it was a stronger brand in its markets than VantageSouth was in its territory.

VantageSouth is a "relatively young brand," Earley said. The brand dates to 2006 when VantageSouth Bank opened in Burlington; it migrated to the Triangle when Crescent State Bank acquired VantageSouth in 2012 and took the VantageSouth name.

By contrast, "the Yadkin brand is 50 years old," Earley said.

In conjunction with the merger of VantageSouth and Yadkin, privately held Piedmont Community Bank Holdings also merged into Yadkin Financial.

Piedmont, which owned about 55 percent of VantageSouth, was created in 2009 by Triangle businessmen J. Adam Abram and Steven Lerner. The company made four bank acquisitions, most notably Cary-based Crescent State Bank and East Carolina Bank.

Earley said the combined bank now has "a much simpler organizational structure, legal structure, that I think will serve us well" and is also "easier for investors to understand."

When the merger was announced, the two banks acknowledged that an undetermined number of layoffs would follow.

"We're still working through that," Earley said. He said that since the merger was unveiled both banks have been trying wherever possible to replace employees who leave voluntarily with internal candidates in order to minimize layoffs.

VantageSouth is now the fourth-largest bank headquartered in the state and ranks seventh in terms of deposits statewide.

Ranii: 919-829-4877

 

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