Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

First Citizens, Mountain 1st to merge

First Citizens Bank and Hendersonville-based Mountain 1st Bank announced a merger on Wednesday under which Mountain 1st will receive $10 million. Of the total, $8 million will be used to repay a TARP loan and exit the 2008 bank rescue program and $2 million will go to Mountain 1st shareholders, or 38 cents a share.

Founded in 2004, Mountain 1st operates 12 branches in western North Carolina and has $692 million in assets, $669 million in deposits and $363 million in loans as of June 30. Mountain 1st branches are located in Asheville, Brevard, Columbus, Etowah, Fletcher, Forest City, Hendersonville (two branches), Hickory, Marion, Shelby and Waynesville. It has about 138 employees.

Customers should bank as they normally do at their existing branches, the two banks said in a news release.

Mountain 1st has 5.2 million shareholders. Shares closed Wednesday at 36 cents, down 52 cents from the opening and down $2.33 from its 12 months high of $2.69. The stock reached its high point, $28.01, on Dec. 1, 2006.

Pending completion of the merger, Mountain 1st Bank branch offices will open as First Citizens Bank branches.

"We welcome the opportunity to merge into First Citizens," said Mayer. "Our companies have a shared commitment to providing outstanding service and building strong relationships in the communities we serve. Customers will benefit from First Citizens' century-long dedication to safety and stability, a more robust line of products and a greater overall capacity to serve their financial needs. It is an attractive agreement for our company and our constituents."

The merger was announced by Raleigh-based First Citizens Bank and 1st Financial Services Corporation, which operates Mountain 1st. The announcement was made jointly by Frank B. Holding Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of First Citizens Bank, and Michael G. Mayer, chief executive officer of 1st Financial Services Corp. and Mountain 1st Bank.
The agreement has been approved by the Boards of Directors of all three companies. The transaction is expected to close no later than the first quarter of 2014, subject to the receipt of regulatory approvals and the approval of Mountain 1st shareholders.