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Banking & Finance

Bank's Growth Plan Includes Name Change

By Jenny Callison, posted Oct 3, 2019
Sound Bank, the Morehead City-based coastal financial institution with one branch in Wilmington, now has a new roadmap and a new name: Dogwood State Bank.
 
The name change, which became official Monday, will become visible to the public when new signage goes up later this month. This rebrand is the latest step as the former Sound Bank positions itself as a bank on the move, with headquarters and a branch location in Raleigh, a new executive team and board of directors, and a focus on expanding in the state’s large markets, officials said.
 
The evolution began last May, when Sound Bank’s former parent, West Town Bancorp, sold it, and Sound Bank announced it had completed a $100 million recapitalization as part of its plan “to grow the franchise into a high-performing, statewide North Carolina community bank.”
 
And that’s still the goal for the rebranded financial institution.
 
“The plan is certainly to continue to grow this bank organically over the next several years,” said Mark Johnson, Sound Bank’s Wilmington market executive, who continues in that role with Dogwood State Bank.
 
Those growth efforts will originate in the North Carolina communities where Sound Bank had branches: Wilmington, Morehead City and Greenville as well as in its new Raleigh location. Dogwood plans to open a branch in Charlotte by the end of this year, according to Natasha Austin, the bank’s chief administrative officer.
 
“We’re heavily focused on areas where Sound Bank already has a presence and good people,” Austin said, adding that Dogwood has “some really good opportunities” to grow in both Raleigh and Charlotte.
 
Despite the name change, the bank’s Wilmington area customers will see no difference in their dealings with Dogwood Bank, Johnson said.
 
“It’s simply a rebrand: No systems are changing, no new debit cards or checks will be issued until new ones are needed, and account numbers will remain the same,” he said.
 
What is changing, Johnson continued, is the bank’s capacity to lend. That $100 million recapitalization means the bank can finance larger projects in more North Carolina markets.
 
“Dogwood State Bank is positioned to become the bank of choice for businesses, business owners, professionals, and their employees in the North Carolina communities it serves,” a news release issued Thursday stated, adding that the bank’s business lines are retail banking, commercial banking and government-guaranteed lending.
 
Longtime North Carolina banker Steven Jones is Dogwood’s director and CEO; Sound Bank’s President Greg Heaton takes on the same role with Dogwood. Scott Custer, former president and senior officer of Wilmington’s Live Oak Bank, is executive chairman of Dogwood’s board of directors.
 
Those board members will be actively involved with the bank in the markets where they live, Austin said.
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