An Atlantic Union branch in Richmond, Va. (Sarah Vogelsong / Virginia Mercury)
Two major Virginia community banks, the Richmond-headquartered Atlantic Union and Danville-based American National, are merging, the institutions’ leaders announced Tuesday.
During a press call, John C. Asbury, president and CEO of Atlantic Union, called the merger “the culmination of a long friendship between the two companies” and “a very logical expansion,” while American National President and CEO Jeff Haley described it as being “like cousins going into business together.”
Atlantic Union, which began in Bowling Green in Caroline County in 1902, currently has 109 branches in Virginia and is the fourth-largest bank in the state, according to information provided by the institution. American National, founded in 1907, has 26 branches throughout Southside Virginia and North Carolina and is the 16th-largest bank in Virginia.
Both Asbury and Haley described the merger, through which Atlantic Union will acquire American National, as a response to changes in customer behavior accelerated by the pandemic, including increased demand for digital banking.
“There’s been a massive digital transformation in the banking industry,” said Haley. “I believe that the model of what we do as a $3 billion community bank has changed. … The foot traffic in our branches is down considerably since COVID.”
According to a press release based on financial data from June 30, the new company will have $23.7 billion in total assets, $19.1 billion in total deposits and $17.3 billion in gross loans.
Asbury said the two banks’ “combined footprint” will position the business “as an even stronger competitor against the large national, super-regional and smaller community banks.”
The merger will still need approval from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions. Asbury said the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.
The banks are currently assessing branch locations to identify overlaps. Asbury said so far only a few cases have been found where Atlantic Union and American National branches are in close proximity.
“Where that is the case obviously it makes no sense to have two branches operating,” he said. However, he continued, “we think branch impacts will be fairly limited.”
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