Franklin-based Entegra Bank has announced a merger with First Citizens Bank. This is a swift change from the merger between Entegra and Smart Bank announced in January.
“We are pleased to announce this combination with First Citizens, which shares our customer focus and community banking approach. Not only does this represent a significantly higher price for our shareholders, we also believe that First Citizens’ size and resources will present more opportunities in the future for our customers and communities,” says Roger Plemens, president and chief executive officer of Entegra Bank in a press release.
Shareholders weren’t happy after the about $158 million price tag with Tennessee-based Smart Bank was announced. A New York firm launched an investigation into the valuation. Then First Citizens approached the Entegra with a significantly higher offer. The deal is now valued at over $200 million dollars plus First Citizens is paying over $6 million in a termination fee to SmartBank for their discarded deal.
This is a huge deal for the town of Franklin with just over 4,000 people. Entegra opened in 1922 and reported over $1 billion in assets at the end of 2018. It runs about 20 offices across Western North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
“First Citizens has a long and proud history in nearly all of these communities. We also share many core attributes with Entegra, including a commitment to service excellence and relationship banking,” says Frank B. Holding Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of First Citizens in a press release. “We look forward to building on the solid foundations both banks have established so that, together, we can better serve even more individuals and business.”
The deal is expected to close during the second half of 2019.