Park Sterling Corporation purchasing Provident Community Bank

By Charles Warner

March 5, 2014

UNION COUNTY — All nine branches of Provident Community Bank will continue to remain open and serving their communities even after the bank is acquired by a Charlotte, N.C.-based regional financial services company.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Park Sterling Corporation, the holding company for Park Sterling Bank and Provident Community Bancshares, Inc., the holding company for Provident Community Bank, had signed a merger agreement under which Park Sterling will acquire Provident Community for $6.5 million.

The announcement states that each company’s board of directors unanimously approved the merger agreement with the acquisition process expected to be completed by the second quarter of this year. Once the transaction is completed, the “combined company will have approximately $2.3 billion in total assets, $1.9 billion in total deposits, $1.4 billion in total loans and a network of 54 offices in the Carolinas, Virginia and north Georgia.”

Those offices or branches will include the nine Provident Community Bank branches located in Union, Jonesville, Rock Hill, Laurens, Simpsonville, and Winnsboro, all of which will remain open according to Chief Retail Officer Lisa Morris.

“All of our branches will remain open,” Morris said Wednesday afternoon. “They will not be closing any of our branches. There will be the same smiling faces and the same commitment to the community.”

Morris said that while the branches will remain open, Provident will be known Parks Sterling once the merger is complete.

James C. Cherry, Chief Executive Officer for Park Sterling, said the merger fits in with his company’s emphasis on providing community-focused financial services.

“Our proposed merger with Provide Community advances our vision to create a regional community bank in the Carolinas and Virginia and strengthens our leading position in the attractive Charlotte metro market,” Cherry said. “Additionally, the partnership improves our branch density in South Carolina’s Upstate and Midlands regions, provides an attractive source of core deposits to help fund organic loan growth, and creates efficiencies which offer an attractive financial return to shareholders.

“Each of these outcomes is desirable individually. Together they create a very compelling transaction,” he said. “We are pleased to partner with Dwight Neese and his team at Provident Community and look forward to working together to continue serving their customers and communities.”

Neese, President and Chief Executive Officer of Provident Community Bank, will remain as a senior market executive in the combined company.

“We are excited to enter into this partnership with Park Sterling and welcome the opportunity to help bring the combined company’s strong balance sheet and broad array of products and service offerings to our customers,” Neese said.