Originally created 06/18/97

Interest up for People's Community Capital Corp. stock



Organizers of an Aiken County bank say many investors have expressed interest in becoming ground-floor stockholders.

The officers and organizers of People's Community Capital Corp. began distributing a prospectus for 1.2 million shares of common stock on May 23. The corporation will become a holding company controlling People's Community Bank once the stock is issued and regulators grant a state charter.

Investors must pony up $1,000 for a minimum stake of 100 shares by July 15, when the offering ends. No one investor may buy more than 4.99 percent to prevent hostile takeovers, according to Alan J. George, proposed president.

Proposed board chairman Tommy B. Wessinger would get options allowing him to buy 5 percent over the next five years. Together, the 11 board members would own 185,000 shares, which could control as much as 30.3 percent of the stock.

"We'd love to have as many shareholders as we possibly can. Our goal is to be locally managed and locally owned," Mr. Alan said.

Each share initially sells for $10 commission-free and would earn no dividends until the bank turns a profit. As the prospectus notes, competition could make profits tough to earn, since there are four commercial banks, two savings banks and two credit unions operating in Aiken County.

With a recent flurry of bank mergers, three out-of-state institutions have two thirds of the market, according to a People's sales brochure. That leaves a niche for a community bank, it states, that focuses on small and medium-sized businesses.

Shareholders won't be required to bank at People's, and they can sell their shares anytime. Mr. George said the organizers plan to apply to have the stock listed on an exchange once it is chartered to make trading easier.

The bank represents a legacy of NationsBank and its predecessor, C&S Bank. Both Mr. Wessinger and Mr. George and director James D. McNair were all C&S and NationsBank officers. Three other directors served on the Aiken advisory board for NationsBank.