CHARLOTTE, N.C. After closing a number of offices due to overlap after acquisitions, First Charter Corp. has decided to get back to building branches.
The $3 billion-asset company has made deals to build on seven sites two replacing old branches and five in new, high-growth markets and is in negotiations for an eighth. The new branches should be completed in the next three to five years, said Robert James, executive vice president for sales and marketing.
The decision to build came out of the companys purchase last year of Carolina First Bancshares, which prompted the closing of five overlapping branches and the sale of four others. First Charter used the money from the sales to buy the seven parcels of land. Under federal law, if a company reinvests a gain from a real estate transaction into a like property within six months, it does not have to pay taxes on the original gain.
Mr. James said that, though the tax break was an incentive for the company to act quickly, it was not First Charters primary reason for deciding to build. These would be its first brand-new branches in about three years, though it did buy four branches from First Union last fall.