A group in North Carolina is aiming to launch the state’s first de novo bank since the financial crisis.

A dozen business leaders in Union County said in a press release Wednesday that they are “evaluating the possibility” of opening a bank in Monroe, N.C. The proposal would be subject to minimum capital requirements and regulatory approvals.

The group, led by local businessman David Cuthbertson, has hired Randy Helton, a former CEO of American Community Bancshares in Monroe, which was bought by Yadkin Financial for $100 million in 2009. American Community, which was founded in 1998, had 13 branches and $525 million in assets at the time of its sale.

Since his bank's sale, Helton has run a consulting business that helps banks entering the Charlotte, N.C., area, according to his LinkedIn page.

"We are excited about hopefully bringing a community bank back to Main Street America," Helton said.

"Union County has a rich tradition dating back to the Depression of having a locally owned bank serving its citizens," he added. "The last locally owned bank was sold in 2009 — I was the CEO — and the market is now occupied by $10 billion-plus banks. I’m not sure their focus is on the small businesses and entrepreneurs that make up so much of the county. We hope we can fill that void."

The group, which did not disclose a name for the planned bank, said it had hired Todd Eveson, an lawyer at Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton, to help with the de novo effort. Tony Gaeta, a retired lawyer who has helped about 30 banks form over his career, is also involved.

The bank would be the first de novo in North Carolina since Coastal Bank & Trust opened in 2009, said Peter Gwaltney, president and CEO of the North Carolina Bankers Association.

A group of business leaders are hoping to form a bank just outside of Charlotte, N.C.

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