The next six months will be busy ones for First Carolina Bank, as the Rocky Mount-based financial institution prepares to open a full-service branch in the new Bradley Creek Station development on Oleander Drive this June.
“We have lofty goals for Wilmington,” said David Rizzo, the Wilmington market executive. “Wilmington is a very important market for us.”
First Carolina’s board of directors includes two Wilmington residents: former banker and insurance executive John Gussenhoven and investor and Bald Head Island Limited CEO Chad Paul. And now the bank has hired community banking veteran Donna Cameron (right
) as senior banking officer to work with Rizzo in developing a retail customer base in Wilmington and expanding the bank’s commercial lending.
Cameron, who held management roles with SunTrust and Park Sterling banks in Wilmington, was most recently with South State Bank and Pinnacle Financial Advisors in Charlotte.
“Her role is to help grow our presence here in the market. She will also be responsible for setting up our new branch and hiring the team,” Rizzo said.
Cameron said that Wilmington is “home” to her and her husband, Dan, and that she is an advocate for community banks like First Carolina.
“This is not a job,” she said of her new position. “We’re building something here with our clients.”
Sixty to 90 days in advance of the anticipated June opening of First Carolina’s Wilmington branch, Cameron will be scouting for staff. She’s seeking referrals for individuals to consider for branch supervisor and customer service representatives, who will be “universal bankers” – trained to wear a variety of hats.
When she was hired in late October, Cameron was First Carolina’s 47th employee. The bank, which has a burgeoning retail presence in Raleigh as well as in its hometown of Rocky Mount, has since added five more people to its team.
“We’ve been the fastest-growing bank in the state over the last three years,” Rizzo said, citing the financial institution’s growth from $504 million in assets at the end of 2018 to $645 million at the end of October.
“Having been [established] in 2012, we are built for a mobile- friendly environment with [services such as] person-to-person pay and remote deposit capture. We also offer cash management and treasury services,” said Kristen Brabble, the bank’s chief operating officer. “We are also built for the current regulatory environment, and we are absolutely fine about it.”