February 17, 2014

SCBT renamed South State Bank to reflect its growth

Columbia-based SCBT unveiled its name change -- to South State Bank -- Monday.

Columbia-based SCBT unveiled its name change -- to South State Bank -- Monday.

With its new name and plans to spend up to $20 million on improvements, the bank is positioning itself as a growing regional powerhouse.

A $2 billion-asset company in 2009, the bank has grown into an $8 billion-asset bank with a presence throughout the Carolinas and Georgia as it has snapped up a half-dozen banks over the past four years. As it has grown, the bank, originally Orangeburg-based and operating only in South Carolina, has been operating under five differing names in different regions.

The new branding brings all of the bank’s names under one umbrella, an important step as it continues to grow, chief executive Robert Hill said.

“At the end of 2013, there were fewer banking companies in America than at any time since records started being kept in 1934,” Hill said. “That number’s going to continue to go down. … We’ve positioned ourselves to be the consolidator of choice in the Southeast.”

SCBT’s latest acquisition was Charleston’s First Federal.

The company will roll out its rebranding in the coming year. Most branches will be renamed June 30. However, First Federal branches will be renamed July 21.

Bank cards and checks will be re-issued as they come up for renewal so most consumers won’t see a major impact, bank officials said.

The company also plans to spend up to $20 million on new hardware and software, replacing ATMs and acquiring new technology that will allow consumers to make transfers between banks and deposit checks by snapping a photo of them with their cell phones.

The bank will focus on integrating First Federal into its operations and making technology upgrades through the end of the year and then look to grow further, Hill said.

Starting in 2015, the bank plans to continue its growth strategy, with a goal of growing into a $15 billion-asset company over the next five years.

“We certainly have opportunities right in front of us,” Hill said.

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