Columbia’s South State Bank buys Charlotte-based Park Sterling

Columbia-based South State Bank has acquired Park Sterling Bank of Charlotte in a deal that creates a combined $14.5 billion franchise that includes the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia.

South State acquired Park Sterling in a stock swap valued at $690.8 million. The banks announced the merger Thursday.

South State is the largest bank holding company headquartered in South Carolina, with 129 branches currently in the Carolinas and Georgia. The merger will give South State its first footprint in Virginia.

Park Sterling has more than 50 bank branches across North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.

As of March 31, Park Sterling Corp., the holding company for Park Sterling Bank, had $3.3 billion in assets, $2.5 billion in deposits and $2.5 billion in loans.

The combined company will have $14.5 billion in assets, $11.5 billion in deposits and $10.4 billion in loans. South State will have 183 bank branches across the four states.

“Our partnership with Park Sterling is a natural next step,” said Robert R. Hill Jr., CEO of South State Corp., the holding company for South State Bank. “We both have a common vision for building a quality regional bank in the Southeast, and this is a significant step forward in accomplishing that goal.

“We are fortunate to have two great teams that operate in dynamic markets, and we are excited about the opportunities this merger creates.”

With its expanded geographic footprint and capabilities, South State looks to improve its opportunities with commercial customers and to continue expanding its presence in the Southeast, said John Windley, CEO of South State Bank.

Park Sterling Corp. CEO James Cherry will join South State’s board of directors in addition to another person to be named later.

The merger is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter of 2017, and the system conversion is scheduled to occur in the first quarter of 2018.

Park Sterling is the second company to merge into South State in the past year. Georgia’s Southeastern Bank Financial Corp. announced its merger with South State in June 2016; the merger was expected to close in the first quarter of this year.