First NBC Bank shares rise on first trading day

Photo submitted by FIRST NBC BANK -- Ashton J. Ryan Jr., president and CEO of First NBC Bank, participates Friday in the New Orleans-based bank's debut on the Nasdaq Exchange. Officials from the bank were on Wall Street to ring the opening trading bell.
Photo submitted by FIRST NBC BANK -- Ashton J. Ryan Jr., president and CEO of First NBC Bank, participates Friday in the New Orleans-based bank's debut on the Nasdaq Exchange. Officials from the bank were on Wall Street to ring the opening trading bell.

Shares of First NBC Bank rose 50 cents on Friday to close at $24.50 on the first day of trading for the New Orleans-based company.

Bank officials rang the opening bell at the Nasdaq Exchange on Friday to mark their IPO. Nearly 4.17 million shares of stock were priced at $24 each for the public offering. First NBC opened at $25.16 a share, but dipped by midmorning.

Ashton J. Ryan Jr., president and chief executive officer, said the IPO will help First NBC Bank take the next step in its evolution as New Orleans’ premier community bank.

“With the $115 million in new capital raised, the bank will be even better-positioned to serve the financial needs of the New Orleans community as it continues its recovery after Katrina,” Ryan said in a statement.

First NBC, headquartered on Baronne Street, has 31 branches, with seven locations in New Orleans; five in Slidell; three in Metairie; and one each Denham Springs, Jefferson, Kenner, Gretna, Terrytown, Harvey, Amite, Hammond, Ponchatoula, Kentwood, Madisonville, Mandeville, Covington, Pearl River, Lacombe and Bogalusa. The bank also has a loan production office in Gulfport, Miss.

As of the end of 2012, the bank had 433 employees, according to filings.

The bank formed in March 2006 and took a name similar to First National Bank of Commerce, a prominent New Orleans bank that was acquired by Bank One in 1998. Ryan, who was president and CEO of First Bank & Trust for seven years, founded First NBC. At the time of its opening, the bank set a state record for the amount of capital raised by a start-up bank. Among the early backers of First NBC were Peyton and Eli Manning, the New Orleans natives who became star NFL quarterbacks.

The familiar bank name helped First NBC grow rapidly. According to the FDIC, the bank had the fifth-largest share of the metro New Orleans banking market as of June 30, behind established regional and national giants such as Capital One, Whitney, Chase and Regions. First NBC says it is the largest bank holding company by assets headquartered in New Orleans.

First NBC has grown quickly through an aggressive acquisition strategy — purchasing assets and branches of Dryades Savings, Statewide Bank and Central Progressive Bank over a 3½-year period — but said in the IPO filing it has no immediate plans or arrangements for significant acquisitions.

The bank said it plans to use the proceeds for supporting its organic growth and other general corporate purchases.