NC banking: Scott Custer

 In Features June 2016

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CEO, Yadkin Financial Corp.

Age: 59

Education: Bachelor’s degree, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Va.

Career: Worked for Wachovia, First Union, Centura and RBC before joining Yadkin predecessor Piedmont Community Bank Holdings Inc. in 2010. 

2015 Compensation: $1.3 million

 

In the six years since Adam Abram and Scott Custer started a community banking company, Yadkin Financial Corp. has grown through seven acquisitions into the state’s fifth-largest bank with assets topping $7.3 billion and a market valuation of $1.2 billion. Yadkin completed its biggest purchase in March, acquiring Greensboro-based NewBridge Bancorp for $456 million. Before Yadkin, Custer had spent 22 years at RBC Bank (USA) and its predecessor companies, including Rocky Mount-based Centura. Frustrated with its U.S. operations, Canada-based RBC sold the business to PNC Financial Services Group in 2012.

What is your focus now?

I’m focused on making sure that we are hitting our targets, both financial and other key milestones. We are closing 12 branches overall and expect to achieve 33% cost savings from our NewBridge acquisition [by eliminating duplication].

How does THE NewBridge acquisition benefit Yadkin?

NewBridge gives us a deeper market presence in the Charlotte and Raleigh markets. It gives us an entry into the Triad, and it provides more scale so we can put our effective model to work across a larger area. The Triangle market is growing at an 8.5% annual rate, while the Triad is at 4.5%, but that is still very good. Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point are very attractive markets.

If Yadkin reaches $10 billion in assets, will it face higher regulatory costs? 

Yes, there are stricter compliance and capital requirements, and it also has an impact on fee revenue. There are limitations involved with crossing $10 billion, and you have to be preparing for it before you get there.

So is Yadkin more likely to sell to a larger bank to avoid the extra costs?

Ten billion is a big marker, and one that every company has to think about and decide what is best for them. There’s a lot of speculation, but we don’t comment on that. You never know what is going to unfold.

Do private-equity investors who want the bank to be sold pressure you?

There is a perception that you are going to be a seller when you have private-equity investors, but the difference for us is that our three large PE investors — Lightyear Capital, Stone Point Capital and Endicott Opportunity Partners — are savvy financial-services investors. We are clearly looking out for the best interests of our shareholders, but there is no gun to our head. Our stock price has performed well, and we may be able to reach the best value by operating the bank ourselves.

How is Yadkin different FROM your previous posts at RBC?

It is a different challenge. We’re not owned by a Canadian company, for one thing. I took things I learned at RBC and tried to apply them here. You learn as much from your failures as your successes, so I have had some good opportunities to learn.

 

Click to see the list of the Financial 100, our story on Richard Moore at First Bank, Neil Underwood at Live Oak, Kelly King, and interviews with Marc Schaefer and Rick Callicutt.

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