CNB bank will carry Mercantile Bank name

Published: Friday, January 23, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 22, 2004 at 11:29 p.m.
CNB Florida Bancshares Inc., parent company of CNB National Bank, is being acquired by The South Financial Group Inc. in an all-stock transaction valued at $157 million. The parties announced the agreement Wednesday, and are expected to close on the deal in July.
CNB National Bank has 16 branches in an eight-county area, including three in Gainesville, and will operate under the flag of Mercantile Bank, a subsidiary of The South Financial Group Inc., a Greenville, S.C., company.
"This is a positive for CNB customers because we will attain more size, have the capacity for larger loans, expand our product offerings, and attract new customers," said G. Thomas Frankland, executive vice president and chief financial officer at CNB Florida Bancshares in Jacksonville.
The most visible sign of anything being different will be the name change to Mercantile Bank once the deal closes in July, Frankland said.
CNB National Bank and Mercantile Bank have very similar cultures in that they are both community banks, he said.
"This allows Mercantile to enter into the Gainesville market," Frankland said. "This also will allow Andy Cheney to get back into the Gainesville banking market." Cheney, a former University of Florida Gator football player, is president and CEO of Mercantile Bank.
With approximately $810 million in assets, CNB National Bank is the largest community bank headquartered in Northeast Florida and ranks No. 8 in deposit market share in markets ranging from Jacksonville to Gainesville.
Mercantile Bank is a community bank serving markets in Northeast and Central Florida. The bank has more than $2.1 billion in assets and 34 branch locations, principally in the Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa Bay areas, according to the company's Web site. Upon completion of the acquisition, Mercantile will have 50 branches, more than $3 billion in assets, and more than $2 billion in deposits.
"We have been looking for the right merger opportunity in Northeast Florida, and CNB Florida is the right answer," said Mack I. Whittle Jr., president and CEO of The South Financial Group. "CNB Florida is a strategic merger, giving us a significant presence in fast-growing Northeast Florida - one of the most dynamic areas in Florida . . . "
The transaction will increase The South Financial Group's Northeast Florida market ranking to No. 7, up from No. 20, according to the announcement.
Under terms of the acquisition agreement, CNB Florida shareholders will receive 0.84 shares of The South Financial Group (Nasdaq: TSFG) - closed at $28.70 on Tuesday - for each CNB Florida share (Nasdaq: CNBB).
Doris Chandler can be reached at (352) 374-5094, or

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