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Greer State Bank merging with Carolina Financial, acquisition expected to close in 1Q 2017

STAFF REPORTS
Published on Tuesday, November 8, 2016

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Greer State Bank merging with Carolina Financial, acquisition expected to close in 1Q 2017
Greer State Bank, chartered in 1988 as a Greer community-owned bank, has been acquired in a merger with Carolina Financial Corporation, operating under CresCom Bank. The purchase price was $45 million.

Carolina Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: CARO) announced acquisition Tuesday and the signing of a definitive merger agreement under which Carolina Financial will acquire Greer Bancshares Incorporated (OTC Pink: GRBS) (“Greer Bancshares”). CresCom will become one of the largest community banks in South Carolina.

Citizens Building & Loan of Greer will remain as the lone community-owned financial institution. It has been in the Greer community since 1907.

Upon completion of the acquisition, in the first quarter of 2017, Greer Bancshares’ bank subsidiary, Greer State Bank, will be merged with and into Carolina Financial’s bank subsidiary, CresCom Bank.

Greer State Bank board of directors and executives were meeting throughout the day and unavailable for comment when this story was posted. Employees were being briefed on the transaction.

"We are pleased to announce this partnership with Greer State Bank, Jerry Rexroad, CEO of Carolina Financial Corporation, stated in announcing the transaction. It will make CresCom one of the largest South Carolina-based community banks, according Rexroad during Tuesday's investors conference call.

“The Upstate South Carolina market continues to be a growing and dynamic market, and we are excited to expand our current franchise further into the Upstate. We look forward to being able to provide new products and services to our new customers in the Upstate while continuing the same great service Greer State Bank customers have come to love and appreciate from their local bankers," Rexroad stated.

The four Greer State Branches will remain, according to Rexroad in a conference call.

“We intend to keep the four branches. They are in very good locations,” Rexroad said. “We will do our very best to keep the people who work in Greer branches.”

CresCom will total 33 branches, including the Greer branches. Its branches are mostly located in coastal South Carolina and North Carolina.

The combined company will have approximately $2.0 billion in assets, $1.6 billion in loans and $1.5 billion in deposits.

Rick Medlock, President and CEO of Greer Bancshares Incorporated, commented in a statement, “We are excited about partnering with Carolina Financial Corporation and CresCom Bank. Our companies share very similar philosophies, cultures and core values. We believe that the strength and resources provided by Carolina Financial Corporation will enable us to expand the products and services available to our customers.”

The merger agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of each company. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017 and is subject to customary conditions, including both regulatory approvals and approval by Greer Bancshares’ shareholders.

• Carolina Financial Corp says aggregate deal value of $45.1 million based on per share price of $18.00

• Carolina Financial Corp says transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings per share

• Merger agreement has been unanimously approved by boards of directors of each company. One board member from Greer Bancshares will be added to the 11-member Carolina Financial board.

• Carolina financial says per agreement, 10 percent of consideration will be paid in cash and 90 percent will be in newly issued shares of Carolina Financial common stock

• Carolina financial says combined company will have approximately $2 billion in assets, $1.6 billion in loans and $1.5 billion in deposits.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the Greer State Bank loan office in Clemson would be incorporated into CresCom’s Greenville lending office.

Here are Rexroad’s comments: “They have a loan production office and then four branches. We absolutely intend to keep the four branches. They are good profitable branches with nice deposit shares and very, very good locations. We are quite pleased with it.

“And quite frankly, when you take the loan production office that we have in downtown Greenville and then our office on East North Street and Howell, it just fits perfectly. It continues to build out that upstate franchise that we very much want to do over the next few years. All the branches will remain open. And we are going to do our very best to keep every person that works in those branches and works with customers in the Greer market.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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