Old Town Bank shareholders overwhelmingly approved the sale of the start-up bank headquartered in Waynesville last week, ending its nine-year run as a small independent local bank in light of the changing landscape facing financial institutions in the post-recession world.
Old Town Bank, a local start-up bank based Waynesville, is selling to Macon Bank, a regional bank headquartered in Franklin, for $13.5 million.
As Macon Bank scurried to get in on the ground floor of the real estate heyday in the mountains, it unwittingly stumbled into a house of cards, and found itself caught up in a scheme akin to insider trading that artificially inflated high-end lot prices and duped the bank into making risky loans.
The view from Roger Plemens office is hard to beat.
Bay windows serve up a bird’s eye view of the Nantahala mountain range, a vantage point that must have been a factor when Macon Bank chose this hilltop for its prestigious corporate headquarters that tower above Franklin.
Fallout from the real estate bubble in Western North Carolina has landed Macon Bank on the watch list of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a federal banking oversight arm.
Macon Bank has been operating under the scrutiny of the FDIC since March. The oversight agency has laid out a series of benchmarks the bank must meet, from strict performance targets to heightened involvement by the bank’s board of directors.