Bloomberg News

Northfield, BNC Bancorp Add Lenders as 2011 Failures Rise to 80

October 14, 2011

Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Northfield Bancorp Inc. and BNC Bancorp acquired failed lenders as state regulators closed firms in New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia and Illinois, pushing this year’s tally of failures to 80.

Northfield, based in Avenel, New Jersey, acquired First State Bank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said today in a statement. BNC, based in Thomasville, North Carolina, picked up Blue Ridge Savings Bank Inc., the agency said. Piedmont Community Bank in Georgia and Illinois’s Country Bank were also seized. The four failures drained the deposit-insurance fund of $221.7 million.

“We are pleased to welcome First State Bank customers to Northfield and believe they will benefit from being with a well- capitalized institution,” Northfield Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John W. Alexander said in a statement. “Our team is working closely with the FDIC to ensure a smooth transition.”

Banks are closing under stress from commercial real estate loans, tied to property values that fell about 49 percent from the October 2007 peak through April, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Regulators have shuttered more than 400 lenders since the start of 2007, FDIC data show.

Northfield rose 1 cent to $13.60 at 5:20 p.m. in New York trading, and has gained 2.1 percent this year. BNC was unchanged at $6.78 and has fallen 25 percent this year.

Northfield added about $204 million in assets and $201 million in deposits when state banking regulators shut down Cranford, New Jersey-based First State Bank. It was the first bank closing in New Jersey this year, according to the FDIC.

Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge, based in Asheville, North Carolina, was closed by state banking officials, the FDIC said. BNC acquired Blue Ridge’s $161 million in assets, $159 million in deposits, and 10 offices. BNC counts G. Kennedy Thompson, former chairman and chief executive officer at Wachovia Corp., as a director and representative of the largest shareholder, Aquiline Capital Partners LLC, according to an April filing.

“Blue Ridge’s loyal customer base was a significant attraction to our company in considering this transaction,” BNC’s CEO W. Swope Montgomery Jr. said in a statement. “We will work diligently to make their banking experience pleasant and rewarding.”

Georgia officials closed Piedmont Community, which had about $202 million in assets and more than $180 million in deposits, according to the FDIC. Macon’s State Bank & Trust Co. added the deposits and most of the assets, the agency said. It was the 20th bank closure in the state this year.

Country Bank, based in Aledo, Illinois, was closed by state officials. Blackhawk Bank & Trust of Milan, Illinois, picked up almost $168 million in deposits and $113 million in assets, according to the FDIC.

U.S. bank failures through 2015 will drain $19 billion from the FDIC’s deposit insurance fund, the agency said this week in an update of its reserve ratio projections.

--Editors: Dan Reichl, Paul Tighe

To contact the reporter on this story: Dakin Campbell in San Francisco at dcampbell27@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net.


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