When First State Bank’s problems surfaced in 2013, West Virginia had 62 banks headquartered within its borders. West Virginia began this year with 50 banks calling the Mountain State home. Today it has 48.
That’s what consolidation has done to the industry — the same as it has to many others.
First State was an outlier in that it was absorbed by MVB Bank following its forced shutdown by state and federal regulators. It was the first bank failure in West Virginia since Ameribank in the McDowell County community of Northfork failed in 2008.
Most of the other banks whose names have disappeared in the past few years — such as First Sentry Bank in Huntington, Rock Branch Community Bank in Putnam County and First Bank of Charleston in Kanawha County — were bought out by larger banks that could offer larger loans and more services, such as investment opportunities, than smaller banks with limited assets and smaller lending limits.
The most recent of those was Cornerstone Bank in West Union in Doddridge County. Summit Financial Group of Moorefield completed its purchase of Cornerstone on Jan. 2.
The largest bank whose name disappeared from the roster of West Virginia-based banks was United Bank, but that, too, was an unusual case.
United Bankshares, the parent of United Bank, has its corporate headquarters in Parkersburg and its operational center in downtown Charleston. A few years ago United Bankshares combined its United Bank operations in West Virginia with those of its United Bank operations in Virginia. However, United retained its operational offices in Charleston.