After months of financial problems, a longtime staple of Wilmington commerce reopened its doors Monday morning with new owners and a new name.
First Bank took over for the recently failed Cooperative Bank on Monday. Cooperative is the second North Carolina bank to fail in just over two months, but there’s no need to worry since customers and employees business won’t miss a beat.
In April, Cape Fear Bank failed and was quickly bought by First Federal. Friday, First Bank purchased Cooperative, the second North Carolina bank to fail.
First Bank bought all 24 Cooperative branches in North and South Carolina.
For customers, all that changes initially is the name on the bank.
Monday, First Bank opened it’s doors for regular business hours and customers hardly noticed the difference. “Everything seems to be the same, normal operations. Everyone’s friendly, all the same staff is are here that were here Friday. It seems like business as usual really,” said Gene Merritt.
First Bank’s president said all Cooperative employees will keep their jobs at First Bank.
As for customers, they’ll still be able to use their ATM cards, checks, and make loan payments at the same locations.
“Whatever services that were available to them before Cooperative closed, those same products and services are available to them now,” said Marvin Payne of the FDIC.
Despite the failure of two local banks in just the past few months, other banks still plan to open up new branches in the area. Experts say that could be a good sign for the local economy.
“They think it’s a growth opportunity for them. They’ve gone and they’ve done their research and they’ve decided that this market is a good fit for the products and services that they offer,” Payne said.
Which has customers optimistic about new banks in the area.
“Sort of under the impression that first bank will have a little more flexibility in it’s ability to do loans and things,” Merritt stated.
And there’s no need to worry about your accounts; all FDIC insured money remains safe.
Since buying Cooperative from the FDIC, First Bank is now the fourth-largest bank headquartered in North Carolina. The Troy based bank now has 99 offices in three states.