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Crescent State Bank has new name, more branches

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Crescent State Bank has morphed into VantageSouth Bank.

Raleigh-based Crescent converted to the VantageSouth brand on Monday with the completion of the previously announced merger of Crescent and Burlington-based VantageSouth. The merger, a stock deal that valued Vantage South at roughly $35 million, was engineered by Piedmont Community Bank Holdings of Raleigh, which acquired 88 percent of Crescent in 2011 and owned 100 percent of VantageSouth.

The combined bank has 20 branches in central and eastern North Carolina -- 15 former Crescent branches and VantageSouth's pre-existing five branches. The bank unveiled new signs at former Crescent State branches on Monday.

Scott Custer, CEO of Piedmont and Crescent State, is CEO of the combined bank. Steve Jones, who was CEO of VantageSouth, is president of the combined bank. The two executives previously worked together at RBC Bank, where Custer is a former CEO and Jones was market president for the Carolinas and Virgnia.

Custer said in an interview that the merger "gives us additional scale and operating efficiency" and would boost the combined bank's earnings. He called the five-branch VantageSouth "one of the most profitable banks in North Carolina."

The five-branch VantageSouth, pre-merger, had $260.7 million in assets as of Sept. 30. It posted net income of $1.9 million for the first nine months of this year, up from $831,000 a year ago, according to Terry Earley, chief financial officer of the combined VantageSouth.

The new, combined VantageSouth is poised to roughly double in size early in 2013 when it completes its acquisition of East Carolina Bank, which has 25 branches scattered across the eastern half of the state. The $51.5 million acquisition was announced in September and is expected to be completed in the first half of next year.

When that deal is completed, all 45 branches will operate under the VantageSouth brand.

Custer said that for now the bank holding company for the combined VantageSouth is Crescent Financial Bancshares, but a name change that would include the VantageSouth brand is planned.

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About the blogger

David Ranii has been a business reporter at The News & Observer since 1993. Over the years he has covered information technology, banking, insurance, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, media businesses and real estate. Contact him at 919-829-4877 or e-mail him.