Amid tumult in the broader banking market, Richmond-area banks are getting a new competitor.
Southern Bank, a $4.7 billion institution with headquarters in Mount Olive, North Carolina, is making its initial push into the Richmond market.
Leading Southern’s charge here is John Neal, who joined the bank last month as its local market executive.
Neal comes off a nearly five-year stint with South State Bank. Before that, he was with SunTrust and BB&T.
Neal graduated from Collegiate School in 2001 and earned his bachelor’s degree from Hampden-Sydney College in 2005.
It’s unclear what exactly the bank has in mind for its Richmond strategy. Bank representatives, including Virginia market head Trent Dudley, could not be reached for comment.
Some banks have taken a go-slow approach when entering the market by initially opening a loan production office or focusing mainly on commercial banking. Others come out of the gate with full-service options including retail branches.
Northern Virginia-based Burke & Herbert Bank arrived in Richmond last year with a commercial banking office and already has inked a deal for its first retail location.
Old Point National Bank out of Hampton entered the region about two years ago and has stuck to commercial operations for the time being, while recently taking on more space for its growing local staff.
Southern Bank’s expansion here brings it farther westward in Virginia. The bank initially expanded into the state 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 in a heap of controversy that sent its CEO to prison.
Through that deal it inherited 10 branches in Hampton Roads and several in eastern North Carolina. It has dozens of branches around its home state, mainly east of Raleigh.
The bank was founded in 1901. It posted a profit of $29 million in 2022, down from $93 million in 2021, according to its annual report.
Also expanding in the region is locally based Virginia Credit Union, which is in the midst of branch-opening spree within the city limits.