A bank that began with a single location in Bowling Green in 1902 has acquired its third bank company in four years and will rebrand itself again.
But one thing will remain the same: Union will still be a part of the name.
Union Bankshares Corporation, which operates Union Bank & Trust, announced Friday that it had completed its acquisition of Access National Corporation. It plans to rebrand all of its banks and ATMs as Atlantic Union Bank in May, and change its corporate name to Atlantic Union Bankshares Corporation. The changes are subject to shareholder and other regulatory approvals.
“We want a unifying brand that makes it easy for our customers to recognize us no matter where they live, work and play throughout the Mid-Atlantic region—from Virginia to North Carolina and Maryland,” said John C. Asbury, president and CEO of Union, in a news release.
Union Bankshares has grown from its beginnings as Caroline County Bank to become the largest financial institution based in Virginia. It acquired Christiansburg-based StellarOne Bank in 2014 and Xenith Bankshares Inc. last year.
The Xenith acquisition boosted Union Bankshares’ presence in Hampton Roads and expanded it into North Carolina and Maryland. Its acquisition of Access National Corporation strengthens its presence in Northern Virginia, the state’s most populous market.
The corporation decided to rebrand all of banking operations to help ensure recognition and clarity in the marketplace, and keep “Union” as part of the new name.
“The ‘Union’ name has been a focal point of the institution’s history for nearly 100 years and it was important to retain this link to our past,” Asbury said. “ ‘Union’ is key because it represents the unification of multiple community banks that have come together over time to deliver better banking to our customers. Additionally, the new name references our geographic expansion throughout the Mid-Atlantic region from Maryland to North Carolina. Atlantic Union Bank is the perfect marriage between who we are today and where we came from.”
Consumers were surveyed about the new name and image and responded “most positively to the Atlantic Union Bank name,” Chief Marketing Officer Duane Smith said in the news release. “Atlantic Union Bank is a distinctive name that will be coupled with an energizing new look, enabling customers to easily and immediately identify with their bank. It sends a clear message we are transforming into a unified and growing provider of financial services.”
Under the terms of the merger agreement with Access National Corp., Access shareholders received 0.75 shares of Union common stock in exchange for each share of Access common stock they owned, with cash paid in lieu of fractional shares. Based on the $31.56 closing price of Union common stock on Thursday, the deal value was approximately $500 million.
“Access was the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle for Union to complete its Virginia footprint and further solidifies our position as the first statewide independent regional bank headquartered in the Commonwealth in nearly 20 years,” said Asbury.
As part of the merger agreement, Michael W. Clarke has been appointed to Union’s board of directors. He has served as president, CEO and a director of Access since its formation in 2002; and as CEO and a director of Access National Bank since its formation in 1999. He has agreed to serve as a consultant to the company for a period of one year to ensure successful merger integration and assist in business development.
Based on financial information reported as of Dec. 31, the combined company would have total assets of approximately $16.8 billion, deposits of approximately $12.2 billion and loans of approximately $11.9 billion.
The merger gives Union Bankshares Corp. a total of 155 branches and approximately 200 ATMs located throughout Virginia and in portions of Maryland and North Carolina.