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First Capital ready to grow in Charleston with board overhaul, cap raise

First Capital Bancshares Inc. is revamping its image, starting with new faces and a relocated holding company.

The bank recently closed a $30 million private placement. Shortly after, it announced plans to move its holding company from Bennettsville, S.C., to Charleston, S.C. — one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. It also announced a CEO appointment and a board overhaul. Its $75.7 million-in-assets unit First Capital Bank will remain headquartered in Laurinburg, N.C.

Newly appointed chairman Harvey Glick said Charleston provides more lending, deposit and growth opportunities than Bennettsville or Laurinburg.

He said the company will use its fresh capital to build out its presence in the area — hiring more people and possibly opening additional branches.

He added that the bank's reinvention will bring its digital offerings up to par as well. Glick called the company’s current online and mobile platforms "basic," and said retooling its technology to include coveted features like snap deposits and peer-to-peer payment options is a top priority.

"There was no demand for it in Laurinburg. There is in Charleston," Glick said. "We've got to be competitive here with Wells Fargo & Co., BB&T Corp. and the larger financial institutions."

He said the bank hopes to implement some of the updates by the end of the first quarter — around the same time its location in downtown Charleston is slated to open. "We want your business as well as your grandparents' business," he added.

Glick, who has been involved in the founding of a number of banks, said his team was searching for a small bank in North Carolina or South Carolina for a "bank platform-type charter." He said a high level of consolidation in Charleston created a market for a "strong community bank." That, coupled with longtime CEO Charles Rivers’ retirement, led the team to First Capital.

Frank Cole Jr., the former CFO of Carolina Financial Corp., was appointed CEO and board member. Glick said First Capital’s board shakeup was intended to fill the seats with individuals more central to the area.

"There's been a shift that's taken place, and there will be a shift in the voice of management," Glick said.

Fred Green III, president of the South Carolina Bankers Association, said the area’s economy, driven by hospitality, technology and manufacturing, is attracting banks to the area. Manufacturing plants Boeing South Carolina and Volvo are located in the area, as well as tech giants Blackbaud and Benefitfocus.

Glick said Charleston's economy was highly attractive to First Capital's existing shareholders. Of the $30 million private placement, $6 million was paid out in dividends. He said the private placement was oversubscribed.

Going forward, he said raising additional capital will not be difficult, if needed for further expansion. He said the company would consider acquisition opportunities in areas east of the I-95. For now, he said the company "has plenty to say grace over in Charleston, S.C."

"We're not out to be a disruptor of financial services," Glick said of First Capital's plans, calling it a "meat and potatoes" business focused on "taking deposits and making good, safe community loans."

Charleston is also home to Beacon Community Bank, a recently established de novo, as well as CresCom Bank and Bank of South Carolina. Green said a number of out-of-state banks are bolstering their presence in the area as well, such as Birmingham, Ala.-based ServisFirst Bancshares Inc., which has operations in Charleston.

"Some of the bigger banks like a Wells Fargo or Bank of America Corp. have a very strong presence," Green said in an interview. "At the same time, the Bank of South Carolina has been in that market for 30 years. They've focused exclusively on that market and they haven't moved out."