Blue Ridge Bank in Va. plans to seek N.C. charter

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Blue Ridge Bankshares in Luray, Va., is looking to form a bank in North Carolina.

The $423 million-asset company plans to raise capital to create Carolina State Bank. The de novo would be based in Greensboro, N.C., home to the company’s mortgage operation.

"We are beginning the process of forming a subsidiary bank in the Greensboro market together with community leaders," Brian Plum, Blue Ridge's president and CEO, said in a statement to American Banker. "We are excited about this opportunity. As we move further into the process, we will be making announcements.”

The company hired Seth Moore earlier this year as its North Carolina market president. Moore has held posts at several banks with North Carolina operations, including BNC Bancorp, Fidelity Bank and SunTrust Banks, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Don Vaughan, a Greensboro lawyer and former state senator, and Ken Flynt, a veteran banker and associate dean of Western Carolina University, would co-chair Carolina State, according to an invitation to a Wednesday reception tied to the bank’s formation.

Other prominent professionals are expected to join the board, including Elizabeth Cone, a philanthropist and a member of one of Greensboro’s most-prominent families, and Chip Hagan, a lawyer and the husband of former Sen. Kay Hagan.

Blue Ridge has seven mortgage offices across North Carolina.

There are no banks based in Greensboro after a series of acquisitions in recent years. As recently as 2015, at least three banks — Carolina Bank, NewBridge Bancorp and Premier Commercial Bank — were based in the city.

NewBridge bought Premier Commercial in February 2015, only to be sold itself a year later to Yadkin Financial. F.N.B. Corp. in Pittsburgh bought Yadkin last year.

Carolina Bank was sold in March 2017 to First Bancorp in Southern Pines, N.C.

At least three other groups have begun efforts to form banks in North Carolina in recent months, and state regulators have said they expect more to come. Other known efforts are taking place in Monroe, Statesville and Winston-Salem.

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