Higher profits aren’t sparking new entries — the last new bank charter was issued in 2009. Banking Commissioner Ray Grace blames a still-sluggish economy and Federal Reserve policies that have sliced the margin between interest paid on loans and received from deposits. Indeed, returns on equity and assets generally remain below levels achieved before the 2007-09 recession. But fewer startups means less access to capital, he says.
The largest bank to fall off the list this year is VantageSouth Bank, which bought Yadkin Financial last July in a $299 million transaction. VantageSouth’s management runs the bank, though Yadkin’s name was retained. Six other banks were acquired during the year, including Raleigh-based CapStone Bank, one of the state’s most profitable before its sale to Greensboro-based NewBridge Bancorp. At least three banks — Durham’s Square 1 Financial, Raleigh’s TrustAtlantic Bank and Mocksville’s Bank of the Carolinas — likely won’t appear next year because of pending acquisitions. Los Angeles-based PacWest Bancorp is paying about $850 million for 10-year-old Square 1, a lender to startups.
— Cathy Martin