A Greenwood, S.C., holding company has launched its third new bank this year.

Community Capital Corp., a company with $200 million of assets, capitalized Bank of Newberry County by acquiring all 330,000 shares of the new state bank's offered common stock for $3.3 million.

Community Capital's chief executive officer, William G. Stevens, said the company financed Bank of Newberry County in Newberry as part of its plan to establish new banks in rural areas.

All five of the parent company's banks are in rural South Carolina and market themselves as alternatives to the large regional banks, Mr. Stevens said.

"By combining several banks, we've been able to have the latest technology," he said. "It's high-tech with a personal touch."

Community Capital gives its banks local control of everyday banking activities and strategy, while implementing back-room efficiencies. Mr. Stevens sits on the subsidiaries' boards, but other operations are left to the banks' management.

"It allows that community to have its cake and eat it, too," Mr. Stevens said.

However, Bank of Newberry County may be Community Capital's last start- up for a while, Mr. Stevens said. The company now wants to focus on building the five banks already in the fold, he said.

Since founding Clemson Bank and Trust in 1995, Community Capital has struggled to produce strong profitability, and its costs have remained high. For the first quarter of 1997, the company reported a lackluster return on average assets of 0.51%, down from 0.75% during the same quarter in 1996.

Its return on equity also fell during the first quarter to a mere 2.88%, down from 5.75% during the first quarter of 1996. And its efficiency ratio has risen since 1992 to its current 79%, far above general industry goals in the low 60% range.

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