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Lake Norman's Aquesta Bank Agrees To Be Sold To South Carolina Bank

aquesta bank david boraks.jpg
David Boraks
The Aquesta Bank headquarters is seen in Cornelius on May 27, 2021.

Cornelius-based Aquesta Financial Holdings, parent of Aquesta Bank, is being sold to United Community Banks of Greenville, South Carolina, for $131 million.

The banks announced the deal Thursday morning. The deal needs regulatory and shareholder approval but is expected to close by the end of the year.

Aquesta is one of the few locally owned community banks in the Charlotte area. It was founded in Cornelius in 2006 and has branches in Charlotte, the Lake Norman area and Wilmington, as well as loan offices in Raleigh and Greenville and Charleston, South Carolina.

Aquesta founder and CEO Jim Engel said the company has grown successfully in the Carolinas in recent years on its own, but a merger now makes sense.

“To continue growing and becoming more profitable, we needed a partner who can provide us the opportunity to better serve our customers with a larger balance sheet and expanded products and services to offer," Engel said in a news release. "Our partnership with the United team provides just that, and I believe the synergies that exist between our companies will result in tremendous success for both sides.”

The acquisition is the third announced in the past 14 months by United Community Banks. Two weeks ago, the company said it was acquiring FinTrust Capital Partners, a Greenville-based investment advisory firm. Over the past two years, United also has bought banks in Florida and Georgia.

“This transaction is consistent with our desire to expand into attractive and fast-growing markets that we know well,” Chairman and CEO Lynn Harton said in a news release. “We have been investing in Charlotte over the past several years and have commercial banking and mortgage teams already in place. Aquesta is an exciting opportunity for us to increase our presence and accelerate our growth."

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David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.