For the second time this year, a Wilmington-based bank has failed. The state Commissioner of Banks Friday closed Cooperative Bank.
The FDIC says Cooperative's 24 offices will reopen Monday as part of First Bank. Customers who had accounts with Cooperative will automatically become customers of First Bank.
Without any advance notice Cooperative Bank is now First Bank. The large Cooperative Bank letters on the downtown branch are gone. The $64,000 question is, what does this mean for current Cooperative customers? "It’s business as usual. Customers will be able to use their ATM, their checking accounts, debit cards, credit cards, and make loan payments,” said Marvin Payne of the FDIC. First Bank is headquartered in Troy, NC. "We're excited about being here in the Wilmington market and other coastal markets where Cooperative was in,” said First Bank President and CEO Jerry Ocheltree. “We're now the 4th largest bank headquartered in the state of North Carolina… This is an FDIC assisted deal. We were notified Cooperative was a candidate. We submitted a bid, and we were the lucky winner." FDIC representative Marvin Payne looks at this bank transaction as a merger. "The main difference today is the signs say First Bank and not Cooperative Bank." With this merger, First Bank now has 99 offices in three states. The First Bank president says all Cooperative employees will keep their jobs under First Bank. Back in April, Wilmington-based Cape Fear Bank failed. It reopened as First Federal after that bank bought Cape Fear Bank's assets from the FDIC.