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North Carolina-based Southern Bank opens its first branch in the Richmond market

Southern Bank will open a branch at 7130 Glen Forest Drive, where it already has a loan office. (BizSense file photo)

A year after its first foray into the Richmond market, Southern Bank is looking to expand its capacity here.

The $5 billion institution, headquartered in Mount Olive, North Carolina, has applied for regulatory approval to expand its existing lending office in Henrico’s West End into a full-service branch.

The change would allow the bank to accept deposits at 7130 Glen Forest Drive, where it opened its loan office last July.

John Neal South Bank

John Neal

John Neal, market leader at Southern Bank in Richmond, declined to comment for this article, citing pending regulatory approval.

Following approval, which is expected before the end of the year, the Glen Forest office will initially be a full-service branch with limited hours.

Once the bank has the necessary branches, it will also look to expand its local staff. Here it has a three-person team consisting of Neal and two other commercial loan officers.

Southern Bank officially entered the region in March 2023, hiring Neal, a graduate of The Collegiate School and Hampden-Sydney College who worked at South State Bank for nearly five years and before that, he worked at SunTrust and BB&T.

Founded in North Carolina in 1901, Southern Bank expanded into Virginia in 2011 by acquiring the assets of the former Bank of the Commonwealth, which was based in Norfolk and had been shut down by the FDIC (Notional Federal Insurance Company) amid a series of controversies that landed its CEO in prison.

Through this deal, Southern Bank inherited ten branches in Hampton Roads and several in eastern North Carolina. It maintains dozens of branches in its home state, primarily east of Raleigh.

In other local banking news, Pennsylvania-based Fulton Bank plans to move its Innsbrook-area branch from 4180 Dominion Blvd. to a former Wells Fargo location at 8215 W. Broad St.

In May, Bank of America closed its longtime downtown branch at 1111 E. Main St. on the ground floor of the office tower of the same name. However, BofA is currently building a new branch across the street from Willow Lawn.

Henrico-based Blue Ridge Bank is continuing to pursue its turnaround plan after completing a $150 million capital raise aimed at helping the bank evade regulatory scrutiny and address the problem assets that have plagued it for the past two years.