Hendersonville-based Mountain 1st Bank to merge with First Citizens Bank

Press release

From First Citizens Bank:

RALEIGH and HENDERSONVILLE, N.C., Aug. 28, 2013 — First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company (known as First Citizens Bank) and 1st Financial Services Corporation announced today the signing of a definitive merger agreement. 1st Financial Services Corp. provides commercial banking products and services through its subsidiary, Mountain 1st Bank & Trust Company.

This agreement provides for the merger of Hendersonville, N.C.-based 1st Financial Services Corp. and Mountain 1st Bank into First Citizens Bank, which is headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. 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 1st Financial Services Corp. shareholders.

Under the terms of the agreement, cash consideration of $10 million will be split between the U.S. Treasury, which will receive $8 million of the cash consideration in order for 1st Financial Services Corp. to exit from the federal TARP program, and common shareholders of 1st Financial Services Corp., who will receive $2 million.

1st Financial Services Corp. operates 12 branches in western North Carolina communities through Mountain 1st Bank, with $692 million in assets, $669 million in deposits and $363 million in loans as of June 30, 2013. The Mountain 1st branches are located in Asheville, Brevard, Columbus, Etowah, Fletcher, Forest City, Hendersonville (two branches), Hickory, Marion, Shelby and Waynesville. Customers should bank as they normally do at their existing branches. Pending completion of the merger, Mountain 1st Bank branch offices will open as First Citizens Bank branches.

Frank B. Holding Jr., chairman and CEO of First Citizens, said: “This agreement is a significant opportunity for us to expand our presence in our home state of North Carolina. We currently have a vibrant branch network and customer base throughout western North Carolina, and we look forward to the prospects of building on this foundation in an important market for us.

“We’ve provided financial services in North Carolina for 115 years,” Holding said. “Customers value our personal service, our dedication to soundness and the full range of products and services we offer. We expect to enhance our footprint in western N.C., establish new relationships and create an even stronger bank for those we serve.”

Michael G. Mayer, CEO of 1st Financial and Mountain 1st, said: “We welcome the opportunity to merge into First Citizens. 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.”

Sandler O’Neill + Partners L.P. acted as financial advisor and rendered a fairness opinion to the Board of Directors of 1st Financial Services Corp. in connection with this transaction.


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