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Banking & Finance

Live Oak Bank Plans To Go Public

By Jenny Callison, posted Apr 15, 2014

Wilmington’s only locally based bank has announced plans to go public.

On Monday, Live Oak Bancshares Inc. – parent of Live Oak Banking Company – filed a Form S-1 Registration Statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announcing its intention to offer shares of common stock to the public. No share price was included in the document.

According to the document, Live Oak will apply to list its common stock on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol LOB. Bank officials also indicated in the document that its proposed public sale of stock would begin “as soon as practicable” after its registration statement becomes effective.

Officials stated in the Registration Statement that net proceeds of the sale of stock shares will be used to “pay off outstanding debt of the Company estimated to be $8.0 million at the time of the offering, to support the growth and expansion of our franchise and for general corporate purposes such as investments in the development of new technology platforms.”

The statement continued, “We may also use net proceeds for possible acquisitions of, or investments in, bank or permissible non-bank entities, including opportunities to enhance and optimize our internal operations.”

Bank officials stated in the document that Live Oak will take three steps in connection with the completion of the stock offering: spin off ownership interests in nCino, the bank’s software enterprise; terminate Live Oak’s status as a Subchapter S corporation and convert to a C Corporation for federal income tax purposes; and pay a cash dividend to existing shareholders prior to that conversion.

Bank officials declined to comment publicly on the filing.

From its inception, Live Oak Bank has been primarily a small business lender, making SBA-guaranteed loans to businesses in niche industries. The first loans were made to independent veterinarians; subsequently, Live Oak’s industry list has grown to include independent pharmacists, dental and medical practices, funeral homes, independent financial advisors, family entertainment businesses and poultry growers.

This business model has been very successful for Live Oak Bank. According to information provided in the Registration Statement, that model has yielded a compounded growth rate in loan production of 25 percent since the bank’s founding in 2008. In the federal fiscal year of 2012-2013, Live Oak Bank was the third most active SBA 7(a) lender in the U.S., behind only Wells Fargo Bank and U.S. Bank.

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