First Citizens BancShares knows the first thing about commercial banking. The company owns First-Citizens Bank & Trust, which operates about 430 branches in nearly 20 states, mainly in the southeastern and western US and urban areas scattered throughout the country. The bank provides standard services such as deposits, loans, mortgages, and trust services, in addition to processing and operational support to other banks. Subsidiary First Citizens Investor Services offers investments and discount brokerage services to bank clients. Real estate loans, including commercial, residential, and revolving mortgages, and construction and land development loans, make up most of the company's loan portfolio.
First Citizens BancShares has been fortifying its presence along the West Coast by snapping up failed financial institutions. Since 2009 it has acquired most of the banking operations of Temecula Valley Bank, Washington-based Venture Bank, and First Regional Bank in Southern California. It also acquired the failed Florida-based bank Sun American and entered Colorado through the acquisitions of United Western Bank and Colorado Capital Bank. All were FDIC-assisted transactions, and each acquired institution became branches of First-Citizens Bank. The deals added about 50 branches to the bank's network. First Citizens BancShares continues to seek out acquisitions of other seized institutions.
Though the company has been able to grow geographically thanks to the economic downturn, its IronStone Bank division, which focused on business customers, suffered from weakened markets in Florida and Georgia. (First Citizens Bancshares merged IronStone into First-Citizens Bank in 2011 to increase efficiency and unify the company's brand.) It has remained profitable thanks in part to its acquisitions, which include loss-sharing agreements with the FDIC, but has had to increase its provisions for loan losses each of the last five years.
The Holding family, which occupies several positions in the company's board room and executive suite, controls First Citizens BancShares. – less