National Commerce Corp. talks FirstAtlantic acquisition

(Courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal)

National Commerce Corporation (Nasdaq: NCOM), the Alabama-based parent company of the National Bank of Commerce, held a conference call with investors Thursday about its definitive agreement to acquire Jacksonville-based FirstAtlantic Financial Holdings, Inc.(OTCQX: FFHD), parent company of FirstAtlantic Bank.

“We’re very excited about the FirstAtlantic management team, the franchise they have built,” said President and CEO Richard Murray, adding that FirstAtlantic CEO Mitch Hunt and four other executives will join NBC.

Murray said the bank’s entry into Jacksonville was an important part of its Florida strategy, “beginning in Tampa, moving through Orlando to Daytona, north to Jacksonville and south to Vero Beach.”

“This is a great strategic fit from that stand point and is also a natural extension north from our Reunion Bank franchise,” Murray said.

NBC is absorbing FirstAtlantic’s $462 million in assets across eight locations in Duval, St. Johns and Clay counties, but the bank will still operate under the name FirstAtlantic Bank. The combined institution will hold assets of $3.1 billion, but NBC will continue its acquisition hunt, according to Murray.

“I don’t know that (acquiring FirstAtlantic) really changes our appetite,” he said, in answer to an investor’s question. “We’re still interested… in expanding geographically into good markets if we can find that right partner.”

NBC will finish its merger with Patriot Bank this month after announcing a definitive agreement with the bank headquartered in Trinity, Florida in April. NBC expects to complete the merger with FirstAtlantic by April of next year.

Matthews expects the conversion process to go smoothly, he told investors.

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