By Randy Arrington
LURAY — At the close of FY2015, Blue Ridge Bank reported assets of $269 million. Three years later at the close of FY2018, the balance sheet had doubled to nearly $540 million.
One year later, that figure has nearly doubled again — to nearly $1 billion.
On Jan. 14, Blue Ridge Bankshares Inc. announced its acquisition of Richmond-based LenderSelect Mortage Group. According to a press release issued by the bank, LenderSelect, previously operating as Atlantic Bay Mortage Group, offers wholesale mortgage solutions to community financial institutions throughout the U.S.
The news came just two weeks after Blue Ridge Bank officials made the trek to Wall Street to ring the bell on the New York Stock Exchange right as the new year began.
On Dec. 18, the Luray-based financial institution announced that its common stock had been approved for listing on the NYSE American Exchange under its current symbol “BRBS.” The public stock first opened for trading on Dec. 23, 2019.
“We are excited to take this meaningful and important step in the continued creation of value and liquidity for our shareholders,” said Brian Plum, President and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Ridge. “Listing on the NYSE American elevates the profile of our company and supports our efforts to generate attractive returns, transparency and liquidity for our current and prospective shareholders.”
The move to take BRB public was announced two days after closing a $42.5 million merger with Central Virginia-based Virginia Community Bankshares Inc. According to a press release issued by BRB, the Luray-based bank now operates 15 branches and has about $950 million in total assets.
Virginia Community Bank, which started in Louisa County, has seven branches throughout Central Virginia. Their accounts will be converted to Blue Ridge at the end of January.
“We are incredibly excited to have partnered with the leadership team at Virginia Community Bank,” Plum said in a news release. “This is a significant transaction for Blue Ridge Bank as we continue to build one of the premier community banks in the region. Our combined resources will allow us to better serve our communities and offer responsive commercial banking services while also growing our noninterest income lines of business, including purchase and credit cards, payroll, insurance, mortgage, and qualified intermediary services.”
A. Preston Moore Jr., the former president and chief executive officer of Virginia Community, will become the Central Virginia market president for Blue Ridge.
“The Blue Ridge team sincerely believes, as we do, in delivering responsive and personalized service to our clients,” he said. “Our collaboration will offer significant opportunities and benefits to our clients, communities, employees, and shareholders.”
Under the terms of the merger agreement, each share of Virginia Community common stock will be converted into the right to receive either $58 per share in cash or 3.05 shares of Blue Ridge common stock, subject to allocation and proration procedures, according to a press release.
Blue Ridge Bank was chartered and organized in 1893 as a state institution under the title “Page Valley Bank of Virginia.” The Bank officially opened for business on Monday, January 3, 1894 with paid in capital of $15,000 and a charter maximum of $25,000. At the time of its organization it was the only bank in Page County, Virginia.
The bank opened its first branch at 612 E. Main St., Luray, in June of 1974, and its second branch in Shenandoah, Virginia, in March 2002.
Today, Blue Ridge Bankshares, Inc. is a multi-state bank holding company with 15 branch locations offering commercial banking services throughout Virginia and North Carolina. Blue Ridge Bank offers mortgage services across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
Visit www.mybrb.com for more information.
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