Paragon Bank shares going over-the-counter

Shares of the corporate parent of Raleigh-based Paragon Bank are expected to begin trading within a matter of days.

Paragon Commercial Corp. announced Monday that federal regulators have approved its request for shares to begin trading over-the-counter under the symbol “PBNC.”

The firm of Raymond James & Associates will be a market maker in the stock.

CEO Bob Hatley said in an interview that he hopes shares will begin trading later this week.

“Everything is in place,” he said.

Any shares that become available available for sale will have to be sold by the bank’s more than 400 existing shareholders.

“We’re not issuing any new stock,” Hatley said.

The bank’s shares have been trading privately at about $10 a share, which Hatley said amounted to about 52 percent of book value.

“We obviously see that as being very low,” Hatley said. “The ultimate goal is to have more shares traded in the market, which should help the price of the stock.”

Paragon announced last year that it was taking the steps necessary to have its shares traded over-the-counter. Those steps included a 125-for-1 stock split to make the share price more attractive; prior to that, shares had been selling privately for between $1,100 and $1,200.

Paragon, which opened its doors in 1999, has branches in Raleigh, Cary and Charlotte. The Cary office opened in October.

Paragon announced last week that it generated $8 million in net income in 2014, up 62 percent from 2013. Its fourth-quarter net income rose 98 percent to $2.7 million.

“We are very pleased,” Hatley said. “In every measure, we have greatly improved.”