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Macon Bank acquires Old Town under new name of Entegra

fr oldtownOld Town Bank, a local start-up bank based Waynesville, is selling to Macon Bank, a regional bank headquartered in Franklin, for $13.5 million.

Old Town Bank has prided itself on being a locally governed hometown bank since its founding in 2006. That won’t change, according to Old Town CEO Charles Umberger. 

“They share our vision of community commitment, of being a local institution that’s committed to their communities,” said Umberger, citing Macon Bank’s roots going back more than 90 years in Macon County. “We weren’t going to partner up with someone who didn’t share those cultural values.”

Macon Bank CEO Roger Plemens pledged to maintain the local flavor that has made Old Town a popular and prominent player in Haywood County.

“Old Town customers can expect to continue to be served by the same friendly, knowledgeable banking professionals they have come to rely on over the years,” Plemens said.

Meanwhile, Macon Bank has recently changed its name to Entegra, effective as of October. While Macon Bank’s footprint had expanded over the years — from nearby Jackson and Cherokee counties to branches further afield in Polk and Henderson — its name remained geographically tethered to Macon. It made a tough decision to forgo the cherished identity and historic brand recognition of Macon Bank to help it expand into a larger region.

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Entegra is also acquiring two more bank branches this month in Upstate South Carolina, namely Anderson and Chesnee, which will bring its total number of branches to 15.

Both Macon Bank and Old Town Bank managed to ride out the tsunami that swept the mountain real estate market and the resulting carnage that pulled other small local banks under. 

“These are two strong organizations who weathered some difficult times, who had strong local boards and strong local managers, who stuck to their knitting and stuck to the game plan and said ‘We are going to make it to the other side,’” Umberger said.

Old Town did not sell to Macon Bank out of distress. It was making money and could have remained independent, but partnering with Entegra enhances its capacity to serve customers.

“You have two organizations that are combining out of strength, not combining out of weakness,” Umberger said. “We are not leaping into the arms of a rescuer. We are two survivors who are combining forces strategically to be able to provide better services throughout our region.”

Old Town Bank launched just nine years ago, but its presence feels more established than its years on paper suggest. It became an instant player in the business scene, due in part to the influential members on the bank’s founding board of directors. It was embraced as a community partner, sponsoring myriad local causes that earned it a seat at the table. And it became a go-to institution for consumer banking.

Plemens said the acquisition of Old Town is a “natural complement” to Entegra’s growing footprint.

“This transaction utilizes a portion of our excess capital as we execute on our strategy of selective expansion into contiguous markets,” Plemens said.

Entegra is a publicly traded company on the stock market. With the pending acquisition of Old Town and the two bank branches in Upstate South Carolina, Entegra will have approximately $1.1 billion in assets, $675 million in loans, and $817 million in deposits.

Old Town Bank has $113 million in assets, $65 million in loans, and $92 million in deposits.

The sale of Old Town is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016. It has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of both banks, but is subject to routine regulatory approval. The shareholders of Old Town Bank also must approve the sale in a vote during a special shareholder meeting, where proxy votes may be submitted.

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