N.C.-based North American plans to add a Tennessee bank

The Charlotte ObserverMay 6, 2011 

With its sixth deal in 10 months, Charlotte-based North American Financial Holdings Inc. is poised to expand into a fourth state.

The bank holding company, led by former Bank of America Corp. executives, said Thursday that it signed a definitive agreement to take a 90 percent stake in a Greeneville, Tenn.-based bank for $217 million. Green Bankshares Inc., parent of GreenBank, has 65 branches and $2.4 billion in assets. With the latest addition, NAFH would grow to $7.3 billion in assets and 149 branches in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee. The deal would push the bank into the top 100 of U.S. banks by assets, NAFH said.

The bank holding company started in late 2009 plans to consolidate its purchases under the banner of Raleigh-based Capital Bank, which it bought in January. Pending shareholder and regulatory approvals, the latest deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

"This investment helps define NAFH as a broad Southeastern franchise," NAFH chief executive Gene Taylor said in a statement. "The fast-growing Nashville and Knoxville markets serve as a natural extension of our western footprint and allow us to integrate our businesses seamlessly."

The move gives NAFH a foothold in Nashville, one of the most attractive markets in the Southeast, Taylor said. He also noted that the purchase gives his fledgling institution a bit more history: The Tennessee bank dates to 1890.

The investment will be made up of 120 million newly issued shares of GreenBank's common stock at a price of $1.81 per share. That's a 20 percent discount from Wednesday's closing price of $2.26. GreenBank shareholders will also be entitled to cash proceeds of up to 75 cents a share, on the basis the bank's loan portfolio performance over the next five years.

GreenBank chief executive Steve Rownd, a former executive with Charlotte-based First Charter Corp., will stay on as Tennessee market president.

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