Three former NewBridge Bank executives are opening the Wilmington market’s first Southern Bank location.
Paul McCombie, Leon Pruzan and Lenny Smith have leased space in the Landfall Executive Center for a Southern Bank loan production office, a new market entry for the bank, McCombie said Wednesday.
From that location, the three will serve Wilmington and the Cape Fear region of southeastern North Carolina. The new office is “part of a long-term strategic plan for growth in several emerging markets, including the Wilmington area,” Southern Bank president Drew Covert said in a news release.
Southern Bank, based in Mount Olive, “is only an hour up the road, and though it has more than 60 locations in North Carolina and Virginia, it has never opened an office in Wilmington,” McCombie said.
McCombie, who will be senior vice president and Cape Fear market executive, was formerly the executive vice president with NewBridge Bank in the Wilmington market and served that institution as market president and sales integration director. He is a longtime resident of Wilmington and a graduate of University of North Carolina Wilmington. He is a graduate also of the UNC-Chapel Hill Young Executives Institute and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania.
Pruzan was previously NewBridge’s senior vice president in commercial lending and private banking services in the local market. A native of Raleigh, Pruzan also earned an undergraduate degree from UNCW.
Smith was a vice president, commercial relationship manager for NewBridge in the Wilmington market. He is a native of Rocky Mount and earned a bachelor's degree from Elon University and an MBA from East Carolina University.
“We are very excited to have Paul and his team serving the Cape Fear Market Area and managing the new loan production office in the Wilmington area for Southern Bank,” Covert said in the release. “We look forward to establishing and growing a strong base of business in the Cape Fear Region through his leadership, and are very optimistic about the long term prospects and opportunities this will afford our company for many years to come.”
McCombie said he sees the new affiliation as a great opportunity for the three experienced bankers.
“It really is a well-established community bank, well-capitalized and very sound,” McCombie said of Southern Bank, which has total assets of about $2.5 billion. “Their community bank model is a great fit for us and gave [the three of us] the opportunity to work as a team. We really enjoy working together and have synergy as a team.”
McCombie added that he, Pruzan and Smith hope that the relationships they have built through their years in the Wilmington market – including involvement in community activities – will help them build Southern Bank locally.
NewBridge Bank was acquired by Yadkin Bank in a transaction that became final March 1. There is some overlap in locations in the Wilmington market, where Yadkin has two branches and Newbridge has nine. Interviewed March 1
, Yadkin Bank CEO Scott Custer said that local customers of both banks would see no change for six months or so, while the two banks prepared to integrate their systems.
Asked how the merger could affect local NewBridge personnel, Custer said Yadkin Bank does not comment on personnel matters.