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United Bank on Nov. 4, 2020, in Huntington.

United Bankshares, Inc., the parent company of United Bank, and Community Bankers Trust Corporation, the parent company of Essex Bank, announced Thursday they have entered into a definitive merger agreement.

The combined organization will hold approximately $29 billion in assets and rank as the 38th largest banking company in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the banks announced in a news release.

Community Bankers Trust has assets of approximately $1.7 billion and is headquartered in the greater Richmond, Virginia, market.

The transaction represents the 33rd acquisition of the current administration of United and will result in a combined company with nearly 250 locations, according to the release.

Andrew Dawson, Huntington market president for United Bank, said the merger will also grow the Southern West Virginia market.

“We are very excited about the news that United is acquiring Community Bankers Trust. As we grow, we will be able to offer even more new products, technology and services,” Dawson said on Thursday. “This acquisition is going to continue to support and possibly grow the numerous operations, customer care and technical jobs that are housed in Southern West Virginia.”

Pursuant to the merger agreement, United will acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of Community Bankers Trust in exchange for common shares of United. The exchange ratio will be fixed at 0.3173 of United’s shares for each share of Community Bankers Trust, resulting in an aggregate transaction value of approximately $303.3 million.

“We are extremely pleased to partner with Community Bankers Trust,” Richard Adams, Chairman and CEO of United, said in the release. “This transaction enhances our existing presence in the DC Metro MSA and takes us into new markets including Baltimore, Annapolis, Lynchburg, Richmond, and the Northern Neck of Virginia. It also strategically connects our Mid-Atlantic and Southeast footprints.”

Community Bankers Trust President and CEO Rex Smith III said in the release, “We are excited to become a part of the United Bank family. They have a steadfast and proven commitment to their customers and the communities in which they operate. The merger will give us the ability to offer better and more sophisticated products and services while still maintaining the community bank approach to doing business with local leadership. This will be a great benefit to our customers, to our shareholders and to the communities of Central Virginia, the Northern Neck and Eastern Maryland.”

Smith will be retained as regional president responsible for the existing Essex Bank locations in Virginia.

“We are very excited about the news that United is acquiring Community Bankers Trust. As we grow, we will be able to offer even more new products, technology and services. This acquisition is going to continue to support and possibly grow the numerous operations, customer care and technical jobs that are housed in southern West Virginia.”

The merger agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of customary regulatory approvals and approval by the shareholders of Community Bankers Trust. Community Bankers Trust will merge into United, and Essex Bank will merge into United Bank, with United and United Bank being the surviving entities.

Performance Trust Capital Partners served as financial advisor, and Bowles Rice LLP served as legal counsel to United. Piper Sandler & Co. served as financial advisor and Williams Mullen served as legal counsel to Community Bankers Trust.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter

@FredPaceHD or email him at fpace@hdmediallc.com.

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