For a lot of its history, First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) was a relatively sleepy, run-of-the-mill community bank. The bank experienced elevated credit losses in the banking crisis, but also used the opportunity to make some FDIC-assisted acquisitions and change its direction. Now management is looking to take advantage of its low-cost, largely rural deposit base and leverage it into spread income growth in faster-growing urban areas of North Carolina.
The acquisition of Carolina Bank (NASDAQ:CLBH)
will give First Bancorp a respectable franchise in a growing urban area
of North Carolina, and tiny foothold positions in areas like
Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, and Winston-Salem can be expanded over time
through organic efforts and select acquisition. In the meantime, though,
management needs to show that it can drive meaningful cost synergies
from its Carolina Bank deal, continue to improve its credit profile, and
out-compete the seemingly endless number of rivals that want a piece of
North Carolina's above-average market.
Read more here:
First Bancorp Looking To Leverage New Opportunities