Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer
What was once Macon County’s largest hometown bank — and one of the first of its kind — has gone through yet another acquisition.
First Bancorp announced on Monday the completion of its acquisition of Select Bancorp, Inc. the parent company of Select Bank & Trust Company.
The merger solidifies First Bank’s position as the leading community bank headquartered in North Carolina, with total assets of more than $10 billion and more than 120 branches.
Select Bank & Trust purchased three branches of Entegra Bank in April 2020 — Entegra Bank, which was the original Macon Bank — was sold to First Citizens Bank around the same time. Before First Citizens Bank could finalize the acquisition of Entegra Bank, they were required to offload three branches located in Macon and Jackson counties located at 30 Hyatt Road, Franklin; 498 East Main Street, Sylva; and 473 Carolina Way, Highlands.
The three branches have operated as Select Bank & Trust for the past year, but will now soon transition once again.
First Bank is a different entity than First Citizens Bank which purchased Entegra Bank in 2020.
William Hedgepeth, president and CEO of Select Bancorp, stated, “We are very pleased with this merger with First Bank. Both institutions share the same community banking philosophy that our customers value so much. Although we are closing one chapter in our company’s history, we believe we are starting another one that will be even brighter. We have been warmly welcomed by the First Bank folks, and we expect a smooth integration for employees and customers alike. I would like also to thank Select Bancorp shareholders and customers for the loyal support they have shown over the years and for what I expect will be many more years to come.”
Although branches and signs won’t change just yet, First Bank is working on integrating the two banks’ systems. This is expected to be completed in mid-March 2022. Until this integration is completed, bank customers will continue to access, manage, and update any Select Bank & Trust accounts through the Select Bank & Trust website, mobile app, and at Select Bank & Trust branches only.
After the systems conversion in mid-March 2022, Select Bank & Trust branches become First Bank locations. Customers will continue to see friendly and familiar faces, and will have access to new digital banking offerings like a free budget management tool and person-to-person payment options, as well as robust financial education resources.
One immediate change customers will see begins December 3, when Select Bank & Trust locations will begin closing at 5 p.m. every Friday. According to the company the change is due to the safety of employees as the time changes and the days are shorter and darker.
Under the terms of the merger agreement, Select Bancorp shareholders will receive 0.408 shares of First Bancorp common stock for each share of Select Bancorp common stock. Any fractional shares resulting from the exchange will be paid cash at a rate of $44.12 per share. Shareholders of Select Bancorp who own their shares of stock in book entry form or hold their shares with brokers will have their shares automatically converted to shares of First Bancorp, with no action required. Shareholders who hold stock certificates of Select Bancorp will be mailed instructions in the near future for converting their shares of Select Bancorp to First Bancorp stock.