Banking & Finance

Merger Brings Benefits, Sound Bank Official Says

By Jenny Callison, posted Nov 3, 2017

With the completion of an acquisition by Raleigh-based West Town Bancorp Inc. of Morehead City-based Sound Bank this summer, there will be benefits to Sound Bank customers in the Wilmington community, but no overt changes, said the bank’s area executive.

“Sound Bank is Sound Bank. To the general public, there is no difference [since the merger]," said Mark Johnson, who oversees Sound Bank’s operations in the New Hanover County market. “Our former CEO, Phil Collins, is now Sound Bank’s president, and sits in Morehead City. Our banking operation is essentially going to stay the same for now, except that Phil is going to be reporting to some folks out of Raleigh.”
No layoffs have been announced, Johnson added.
West Town Bancorp will operate as a multi-bank holding company with Sound Bank and West Town Bank & Trust as separately chartered, wholly owned subsidiaries of West Town, according to the news release announcing the merger’s closing. Eric Bergevin, CEO and president of the holding company, also heads West Town Bank & Trust.
The newly merged entity has consolidated assets of about $500 million as of the closing date, the release stated.
While West Town Bancorp does operate a retail bank with two branches in the Chicago area as well as one in Edenton and one in Greenville, the majority of its revenues come from its mortgage, insurance and SBA lending units.
Combine those with Sound Bank’s network that generates deposits and consumer loans, and you have a full-service bank, Johnson said.
“This merger has been very beneficial in that you bring two financial companies together that have different areas of expertise,” he added.
“We can refer customers back and forth and offer a whole range of services in-house.”
The merged banks’ combined resources also create expanded possibilities for lending, Johnson said.
“I am excited about it, because this now provides more capital for growth in Wilmington and beyond. You will see Sound Bank position itself more aggressively in the market.”
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