Planters Bank was founded in 1899, just as Rocky Mount emerged as the leading market and mill town of Eastern North Carolina. Planters anchored its business in that city and thrived because it created commercial opportunities for local farmers and businesses. Throughout its ninety-year history, Planters stimulated the wealth that became the foundation of the Rocky Mount community.
Leading planters and merchants incorporated Planters to meet the need for a reliable commercial bank in Rocky Mount. Prior to its founding, farmers needed to travel to Richmond to secure the loans needed to finance their planting operations. The Braswell family, led by Thomas Permenter Braswell, a large planter and merchant from Battleboro, organized the subscribers necessary to secure a state charter. It was the first bank in the region to pay dividends to its stockholders.
By 1915, Planters became a national bank which enabled them to print national currency and enhanced their position as the leading investor in local business. It was in such a strong position that it weathered the banking crises following the Crash of 1929 with relative ease. By the mid-1950s, Planters National Bank sought to diversify by expanding its operations outside of the Twin Counties. In 1954, it opened its first two branches outside of Rocky Mount, in Plymouth and Ahoskie. Two years later, it purchased the stock of Roanoke Bank and Trust Company of Roanoke Rapids in Pitt County to gain a stronger presence among textile manufacturers. Planters continued its strategy of purchasing within communities that represented strongholds of industry so that, by 1979, Planters had thirty-nine offices in twenty-three communities as far east as Manteo on the Outer Banks and as far west as Mount Airy in the Blue Ridge Mountains. With Rocky Mount as its headquarters, Planters also had offices in Raleigh and Greenville.
Throughout its history, Planters was a bank of influence throughout the state. Its officers distinguished themselves with their service to the North Carolina Bankers Association and on the Boards of numerous corporations throughout the state. In 1983, Planters enhanced its organizational structure with the establishment of The Planters Corporation, with Planters Bank as its chief subsidiary. In 1990, its Board voted to merge with its chief competitor within Rocky Mount, Peoples Bank & Trust. This "merger of equals" became Centura Bank.
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