Southern First Bank in Greenville, S.C., and Five Star Bank in Warsaw, N.Y., are entering new markets.

The $1.3 billion-asset Southern First said it will open a full-service loan production office, likely within the next six weeks, in Raleigh, N.C. It would be the bank's first location in North Carolina.

"We just have to work out some of the real estate logistics first," Southern First CEO Art Seaver told American Banker on Tuesday.

Southern First has recruited three executives from Paragon Bank in Raleigh for its expansion: Jonathan Taylor, Mike Stellar and Monica Navarro. Taylor joined Southern First to lead the expansion as executive vice president and Triangle market executive, and Stellar and Navarro also will have leadership roles.

All of Southern First's nine branches are in South Carolina, including Charleston and Columbia.

Meanwhile, the $3 billion-asset Five Star, which has 51 offices in upstate New York, will open a retail branch by the end of the year at the former Key Center at Fountain Plaza in Buffalo, N.Y., about 40 miles from Warsaw. The plan was first reported by Buffalo Business First.

First Bank did not respond to requests for comment.

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