First Bank Insurance Services And Bankingport Announce Signing Of Definitive Merger Agreement

Dec 16, 2015, 16:01 ET from First Bank

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. & SANFORD, N.C., Dec. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- First Bancorp (NASDAQ – FBNC), the parent company of First Bank and First Bank Insurance Services, Inc. ("First Bank Insurance"), and Bankingport, Inc., an insurance agency based in Sanford, North Carolina ("Bankingport"), jointly announced today that First Bank Insurance and Bankingport have entered into a definitive merger agreement, pursuant to which First Bank Insurance will acquire Bankingport.  The combination represents an opportunity for First Bank Insurance to expand and enhance the insurance products it provides to customers and an opportunity to provide Bankingport's insurance customers with access to First Bank's full range of commercial banking products and services, all backed by both parties' strong foundations of local service.

Bill Ray, President of Bankingport and the son of its founder, said, "It was a goal of my father to give excellent service and products to our customers. I feel that we have accomplished this and our commitment to this founding principal remains.  With our growth, we needed to expand our operation to continue to provide our customers the service to which they have become accustomed.  By combining with First Bank Insurance, we expect to attain a higher level of service for our customers.  Our clients will still have the Bankingport agents they have known and our customers will see the same benefits and service they have for years.  First Bank Insurance has an excellent reputation and we are excited to partner with them as they bring a wide range of support to the combined agency, including human resources, information technology, and marketing.  With this support, we have more time to work harder for our customers."

Tim Maples, Executive Vice President of First Bank Insurance, agreed, stating that "Bankingport is an outstanding insurance agency with an excellent team focused on its customers' needs.  Bankingport and First Bank Insurance share a common goal to provide exceptional customer service.  We are excited about our future together." Rob Patterson, Regional President of First Bank, said "Lee County has been an outstanding market for First Bank and Bankingport, and we are excited about the opportunities to better serve our customers through a wide array of banking and insurance products and services."

The transaction is expected to close on January 1, 2016, subject to customary closing conditions.  Bankingport will continue to operate under its name for an undetermined period subsequent to the closing and both parties will continue to operate out of their respective offices with staff levels unaffected.

About Bankingport, Inc.

Bankingport, Inc. was founded in 1948 with the belief that we are here to serve the community with integrity.  We know that our success is only as great as the successes for those we serve.  That is why our team of insurance professionals strives to provide proactive consultation and expertise to our clients, while providing a full line of property and casualty, life and health insurance for both individuals and businesses.

About First Bancorp, First Bank & First Bank Insurance Services, Inc.

First Bancorp is a bank holding company headquartered in Southern Pines, North Carolina with total assets of approximately $3.3 billion.  Its principal activity is the ownership and operation of First Bank, a state-chartered community bank that operates 88 branches, with 75 branches operating in North Carolina, six branches in South Carolina (Cheraw, Dillon, Florence, and Latta), and seven branches in Virginia (Abingdon, Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Fort Chiswell, Radford, Salem and Wytheville), where First Bank does business as First Bank of Virginia.  First Bank also has loan production offices in Greenville and Charlotte, North Carolina.  First Bancorp's common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "FBNC."  First Bank Insurance Services, a subsidiary of First Bank, has locations in Southern Pines and Troy, North Carolina.

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This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements are statements that include projections, predictions, expectations or beliefs about future events or results or otherwise are not statements of historical fact.  Such statements are often characterized by the use of qualifying words (and their derivatives) such as "expect," "believe," "estimate," "plan," "project," "anticipate," or other statements concerning opinions or judgments of the Company and its management about future events.  Factors that could influence the accuracy of such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the financial success or changing strategies of First Bancorp's customers, First Bancorp's level of success in integrating acquisitions, actions of government regulators, the level of market interest rates, and general economic conditions.  For additional information about the factors that could affect the matters discussed in this paragraph, see the "Risk Factors" section of the First Bancorp's most recent annual report on Form 10-K available at  Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and First Bancorp undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements.  First Bancorp is also not responsible for changes made to the press release by wire services, internet services or other media.


SOURCE First Bank