First Citizens’ Frank Holding Sr., father of current CEO, dies at 89

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First Citizens BancShares/First Citizens Bank

Frank B. Holding Sr.

Frank Holding Sr., who helped build First Citizens BancShares Inc. into the nation’s biggest family-owned bank and served for many years on the Johnston County commission, has died. He was 89.

Holding had five children, including three who work for the bank: Son Frank Jr. is CEO, while daughter, Hope Bryant, is vice chairman and son-in-law, Peter Bristow, is president.

Started in Smithfield in 1898, First Citizens is now the 55th-largest U.S. bank, with $34 billion in assets. Led for decades by Holding and his brother, the late Lewis “Snow” Holding, the bank has acquired more than two dozen smaller institutions across North Carolina over the last 50 years.

Frank Holding Sr. led First Citizens’ expansion in South Carolina, building the biggest bank based in that state when it merged with its North Carolina affiliate in 2014. He retired from the company’s board that same year.

The Holding family controls more than 70% of the voting power of Raleigh-based company, which has a market value of $5.3 billion in mid-May.

Holding lived in Smithfield and served for 37 years as a Johnston County commissioner.

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