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South State merging with CenterState; Orangeburg-born bank to have Fla. headquarters
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South State merging with CenterState; Orangeburg-born bank to have Fla. headquarters

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A bank born in Orangeburg has merged with a Florida-based bank in a move that will create the eighth-largest bank in the Southeast, company officials say.

South State Corporation, parent company of South State Bank, has merged with Florida-based CenterState Bank Corporation in a deal with a market value of about $6 billion.

The combined bank will serve 1 million customers in six states, according to a joint announcement by both banks this week.

“We are excited to partner with CenterState,” said Robert R. Hill, Jr., CEO of South State. “We have great respect for John, the management team and the company CenterState has built. This is a great combination of cultures, which will create tremendous value for our shareholders.”

The combined company will operate under the South State Bank name and will trade under the South State ticker symbol SSB on the Nasdaq stock market.

The company will be headquartered in Winter Haven, Florida and will maintain a significant presence in Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia, according to the announcement.

The merger is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of customary regulatory approvals and approval by the shareholders of each company.

South State Bank was founded in Orangeburg as First National Bank in January 1934.

The bank called Orangeburg its headquarters for nearly 70 years before moving to Columbia in 2002 and becoming South Carolina Bank and Trust. In July 2014, SCBT became South State Bank.

Currently, the bank has five branches in Orangeburg County -- three in Orangeburg, one in Santee and one in Elloree. The bank also has three sites that only have ATMs in Orangeburg.

It also has branches in Denmark and Bamberg.

"We see very little overlap in the branch network of the combined companies," spokeswoman Jackie Smith said. "We expect any disruption in the customer-facing markets will be minimal."

South State Bank currently has 157 employees in Orangeburg County that serve a number of roles including as branch staff and in commercial and mortgage loans.

The Orangeburg area is also home to a number of support functions for the bank including a call center, treasury and loan closing, real estate and human resources to name a few, Smith said.

Under the merger, Hill will serve as executive chairman of the combined company. John C. Corbett, CEO of CenterState, will be CEO of the combined company.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, CenterState shareholders will own approximately 53 percent and South State shareholders will own approximately 47 percent of the combined company.

The board of directors of the combined company will consist of sixteen directors evenly split between the two banks.

The merger will combine the executive management teams from both organizations.

“We have known and admired Robert and his team for over a decade, and we believe our two organizations are an outstanding fit,” Corbett said. “Combining these two high-performing teams will allow us to build an even stronger company together.”

Bank officials say the merger will bring an estimated $80 million in annual cost savings by 2022.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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