First Citizens Relocating Southern Pines Branch
First Citizens Bank is on the move in Southern Pines.
The bank began clearing land this week at Pennsylvania Avenue and U.S. 1 and will soon start construction of a new branch to replace its current location on South West Broad Street.
"We've been looking for quite a while for a great location in Southern Pines that is close to our existing customer base," said Tim Richardson, area vice president for First Citizens. "We're really excited about what this move is going to do for the community, the bank and our clients."
Once the land is cleared, construction will begin on the 3,600-square-foot, single-story building, which will feature a working fireplace in the lobby and is scheduled for completion in late fall or early winter.
Patrick Mackie, market executive for Moore County, said the move shows the bank's long-term commitment to Southern Pines.
"We want to do business in this area for a long time to come," Mackie said.
First Citizens focuses on individuals and small- to medium-sized businesses, and offers a broad range of financial services.
"We're seeing a lot of new people moving to the area, from young families to retirees, and the demographics are very diverse," Mackie said. "Southern Pines is also very entrepreneurial, and there's a lot of opportunity there."
Richardson said the bank's products and services "cover both ends of those spectrums."
"So it's really a good fit," he said.
First Citizens will close its existing branch, which was built in 1975.
"Times and what you do for your clients change," Richardson said. "We're going to be able to make substantial improvements at our new location. That will mean greater convenience and better accessibility for our clients, as well as better visibility for the bank with all the drive-by traffic on U.S. 1."
Richardson said the bank purchased the land at Pennsylvania and U.S. 1 in 2010 and was waiting for the right "corporate environment" to begin the seven-figure project.
"The decision was not just Southern Pines-specific," he said. "It was part of the bankwide equation. The timing is right now."
First Citizens, which also has a branch in Pinehurst, will transfer its five employees from Broad Street to Pennsylvania Avenue.
"We'll have another five employees floating in and out," Richardson said. "Those people include our mortage folks and wealth management specialists."
First Citizens reported earnings for the quarter ending last Sept. 30 of $39.5 million, compared with $81.4 million for the corresponding period of 2011. The decrease in net income in 2012 resulted from significantly reduced noninterest income caused by an $86.9 million acquisition gain in the prior year which was partially offset by lower noninterest expense and provision for loan and lease losses during the current quarter.
Per share income for the third quarter of 2012 totaled $3.85, compared with $7.86 for the same period a year ago.
As of Sept. 30, BancShares had total assets of $21.17 billion. BancShares is the financial holding company for First Citizens Bank, which has 415 branches in 17 states.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or tnatt@the pilot.com.
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