Richmond’s biggest locally based bank is taking what it views as a step up on Wall Street.
Atlantic Union Bankshares, parent of Atlantic Union Bank, announced Friday its plans to move the trading of its stock from Nasdaq to the New York Stock Exchange.
Its shares, which would keep their AUB ticker symbol, are expected to begin trading on the NYSE on Jan. 18.
The move includes both AUB’s common stock and its preferred stock, which it refers to as depositary shares.
They will continue to trade on Nasdaq until the transfer.
AUB CEO John Asbury said in an interview Friday the decision was driven by the bank’s desire to have a physical market maker with actual humans still involved in the process. Nasdaq, by comparison, is more electronically driven, he said.
Asbury said more of a human touch allows for more liquidity and more efficient trading.
“The primary benefit is we like having a physical market maker and we also get more insights into the stock trading,” referring to the trading data the bank would have access to from NYSE.
There’s also a certain cachet that comes with being traded on the NYSE.
“It is the world’s’ most prestigious stock exchange and we think that has some incremental benefit,” Asbury added. “We perceive this as Atlantic Union graduating to the next level up.”
Asbury said NYSE approached AUB about the move and that the bank did its due diligence in part by talking to other similar-sized banks that had recently made the same move. He said there’s been a bit of a trend of mid-sized banks moving to the NYSE, citing Home BancShares in Arkansas as an example.
And while cost wasn’t a driver in the decision, Asbury said it is modestly less expensive to be listed on NYSE than Nasdaq.
The move to NYSE would end AUB’s nearly 30-year run on Nasdaq. It has traded on that exchange since the bank went public in 1993 when it was known as Union Bancorp.
Asbury emphasized that the move doesn’t change anything for AUB shareholders.
“It’s a completely seamless experience for the shareholder,” he said.
AUB, headquartered in downtown Richmond, has $20 billion in total assets and 114 branches around Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.
AUB’s stock closed Friday at $36.54 per share, up 3 percent on an overall positive day for the stock market.