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Greenville’s GrandSouth Bank plans expansion into Columbia market

Banking & Finance
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Greenville-based GrandSouth Bank has filed an application with Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to open a branch office in downtown Columbia.

The bank, which has four offices in the Upstate, stated in a legal advertisement published in The State newspaper that it plans to establish its Midlands branch at 1901 Assembly St.

The 64,000-square-foot office building, built in 1994, is the former location of BB&T’s S.C. headquarters. BB&T moved its Assembly Street operations to the Capitol Center on Main Street in 2014.

A timeline for GrandSouth’s opening of the Columbia office was not offered. The company has named David Anderson market president for Richland and Lexington counties, a spokesman said.

In February the bank’s holding company, GrandSouth Bancorporation, completed the sale of $12 million in common stock through private placement.

“There was a great deal of interest in both the local and institutional investor markets in our company and the prospects for profitable growth in the Upstate region of South Carolina,” said Mason Garrett, GrandSouth Bancorporation's chairman and CEO. “We believe that we have a great opportunity for growth ahead of us."

For the first quarter of 2016, GrandSouth reported net income of $1.51 million, compared with $1.79 million for the first quarter in 2015. Deposits grew during the first quarter grew to $374 million, or 6% over the balance at year-end of $351 million.

GrandSouth’s entry into Columbia counters a recent trend of Midlands-based banks establishing offices in the Upstate, where the economy is largely driven by a surge in manufacturing and technology-based companies.

For example, First Community Bank, headquartered in Lexington, opened a loan office in Greenville in 2014, and in March it added three commercial bankers to the Upstate location.

GrandSouth is the first financial institution to enter the Midlands since Greenville-based CertusBank opened an office on Main Street in 2014. About a year later, the office was closed when the bank shut down operations.

Before that, Grow Financial, a Tampa, Fla.-based credit union, opened the first of three Midlands branches in 2013 at the Village at Sandhill.

GrandSouth, which opened for business in 1998, has about 125 employees at offices in Greenville, Fountain Inn, Anderson and Greer, according to FDIC records. The company currently trades its common stock on the OTC market under ticker symbol GRRB.

Reach Chuck Crumbo at 803-726-7542.

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