A day of reckoning is coming for some communities in eastern North Carolina. With the planned sale of RBC Centura to PNC, the possibility exists that branches will close. In big cities like Raleigh, Charlotte, or Greensboro, the loss of a branch is a minor event. But in eastern North Carolina, the RBC branch is the only bank in town. If the people in Pittsburgh decide that one of their branches is redundant, then there will be no bank at all.
The FDIC says that RBC is the only bank in seven communities in North Carolina. Each is located in Northeastern North Carolina. In cities like Colerain or Rich Square, RBC is the only bank in town. RBC was born in Eastern North Carolina and its continued involvement in the area probably reflects their long-term commitment to the area.
It isn't clear that PNC will share those same commitments. PNC may close branches. They might curb the extent to which they engage the small businesses in the area as well as the degree of commitment they make to community development lending. PNC hasn't spoken about the issue. My initial comment on this situation is available here.
If PNC closes the Rich Square branch, the nearest choice will be to take the country roads out of Northampton County and drive southeast to the Southern Bank & Trust in Aulander. The nearest RBC is back in Jackson, which is almost 20
minutes the other way in Jackson, North Carolina. RBC is the only bank in Jackson.
If you are looking for the Rich Square RBC, it is across from the China King on South Main St. If you go by Madry Auto Supply on your right, then you've gone too far.
Here is the full list of cities in North Carolina where RBC has the only branch, along with the county in which they are located and the total share of deposits held by RBC in that county:
- Rich Square (Northampton County, 55 percent)
- Jackson (Northampton County)
- Duck (Dare County, 27.5 percent)
- Hobbsville (Gates County, 25.3 percent)
- Colerain (Bertie County, 20.5 percent)
Every one of these communities is located in the northeast. With the exception of Duck, each is very poor. These are small towns. The fact that they are poor only heightens the likelihood that PNC will extinguish banking in one of these communities.
As much as anything, the issue is the space between branches. No business wants to drive twenty minutes, especially at night, in order to make a deposit.
There is only one bank in any town in Northampton. Four have no bank at all. Bertie County has six banks. All but one are part of Southern Bank & Trust. In Gates County, to the Northwest, there are only three banks. In Hertford, to the east, there are six banks. Two are owned by RBC.