2016 Banking Recap: M&A steals the show

The local banking industry ended 2016 the same way it began the year: in deal-making mode.

The year started with the closing of Charlotte-based Park Sterling Bank’s $87 million acquisition of First Capital Bank in Glen Allen. It gave Park Sterling an instant, sizable foothold in the Richmond market, but also resulted in a pay dispute with First Capital’s former CEO.

The consolidation continued throughout the year, with locally based Xenith Bank joining forces with Bank of Hampton Roads. That $117 million deal resulted in a combined bank with $3 billion in assets that will keep its headquarters in Richmond.

The Bank of Virginia branch at 10501 Patterson Ave.

The Bank of Virginia branch at 10501 Patterson Ave.

Next came the gobbling up of Midlothian-based Bank of Virginia by First Citizens Bank out of North Carolina. The transaction was preceded by Bank of Virginia CEO Jack Zoeller leaving the company to spinoff a student lending startup in Washington, D.C.

The coupling continued in the fall, with Reston-based Access National Bank and its parent company announcing a deal to merge with Middleburg Bank, another Northern Virginia institution that has increased its Richmond presence in recent years.

A few days later, Petersburg-based Virginia Commonwealth Bank and Kilmarnock-based Bank of Lancaster revealed their plans to marry. The combined institution will have around $800 million assets and relocate its headquarters to Richmond.

Lastly, barring any 11th hour New Year’s Eve deals, locally based EVB closed out the year with an announcement that it will merge with Sonabank in Northern Virginia. The combined $2 billion bank will keep a corporate headquarters in NoVa and a bank headquarters in Innsbrook, where EVB relocated a few months ago.

There was plenty of other action in between all the matchmaking.

Midlothian-based Village Bank capped its turnaround efforts by finally being released from a recession-era regulatory agreement, the last of its local peers to shed the onerous pacts that became commonplace after the downturn.

Village Bank, headquartered on Midlothian Turnpike. (Courtesy of CBRE)

Village Bank, headquartered on Midlothian Turnpike. (Courtesy of CBRE)

Banking giant BB&T laid off dozens of workers at its Richmond-based investment banking division in July. It didn’t take long for at least one out-of-town firm to seize the opportunity to snatch up the available talent and set up shop in Richmond.

Longtime Union Bank & Trust CEO Billy Beale announced his retirement, which is set for early 2017. His successor is a native who was lured back to his home state after running a bank out west. Union also ends the year with a fresh batch of cash thanks to a successful $150 million debt offering.

Branch expansion was also a trend in 2016.

TowneBank lined up a spot in the new Libbie Mill development near Willow Lawn and unveiled its new Richmond base of operations in Gateway Plaza downtown.

Essex Bank stayed busy with deals for new branches in Short Pump, Cumberland County, Northern Virginia and Lynchburg.

TowneBank unveiled its new Richmond headquarters in Gateway Plaza.(Michael Schwartz)

TowneBank unveiled its new Richmond headquarters in Gateway Plaza. (Michael Schwartz)

Union opened a commercial lending office in Charlotte, further expanding its presence in the Tarheel State. Union also branched out with its wealth management arm with the acquisition of a firm in Charlottesville, and was forced to move out of a few local grocery stores thanks to a mega-merger between the parent companies of Martin’s and Food Lion.

Not to be outdone by their for-profit counterparts, local credit unions also grabbed a few headlines in 2016.

Notably, Virginia Credit Union, the region’s largest credit union, found a replacement for its longtime CEO who retired in the spring.

VACU also has plans to build a new from-scratch branch in Hancock Village, joining its peer Call Federal Credit Union in the Chesterfield retail development.

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