Two Southwest Virginia banks plan to merge over the coming months.
Bluefield, Virginia-based First Community Bankshares, Inc. is slated to acquire Abingdon-based Highlands Bankshares, Inc. and its subsidiary, Highlands Union Bank.
The companies jointly announced an agreement and plan of merger in a news release Wednesday evening, although the deal still needs to be approved by Highlands’ shareholders and receive regulatory approvals. The companies expect to finalize the merger in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Highlands — which operates 15 offices in North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee, and Southwest Virginia — will merge into First Community as part of the transaction. First Community will be the “surviving corporation” coming out of the merger, the release stated.
“This natural partnership brings like-minded bankers and customers together to create an even stronger franchise to serve the people and communities of the tri-state Highlands region … both banks’ stakeholders are an integral part of this area and share its values of hard-work and community involvement,” Will Stafford, chairman and CEO of First Community, stated in the release.
First Community operates 44 banking locations in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Once the merger is complete, First Community is expected to have total consolidated assets of over $2.8 billion, according to the release. Highlands Union Bank had total assets of about $612 million as of June 30, 2019.
“First Community will be an excellent partner when it comes to culture, commitment to customer satisfaction, and involvement in our local communities. Our customers will have access to a broader product offering and branch network while continuing to receive service that exceeds their expectations. Our employees will join a familiar culture and our shareholders will enjoy the benefits of being part of a high-performing $2.8 billion asset franchise,” Bryan Booher, interim CEO and president of Highlands, stated in the release.
When the deal is complete, the companies said a Highlands director will join First Community Bank’s board and that First Community will establish an Advisory Board “to maintain a close connection with our customers in the Highlands Region.” Both companies’ boards of directors provided unanimous approval for the merger, according to the release.