(Bloomberg) – A few months ago, Frank Holding Jr. was the head of a little-known lender in North Carolina. Now, after the turmoil at US regional banks, he sits at the helm of one of the fastest-growing fortunes in the world.
The 61-year-old holding company and his extended family have seen their stake in First Citizens BancShares Inc. double in value since late March after the Raleigh-based lender acted as a buyer for Silicon Valley Bank’s assets.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, that share is currently at a record high and is worth around $2.2 billion. According to the bank, shares rose 7.5% on Wednesday to $1,175.35 reported Deposits beat estimates after the SVB bailout deal — a closely watched metric as the California lender was wiped out by a run on deposits.
The family behind First Citizens is spread across at least five branches, with the extended group including a handful of bank executives, including President Peter Bristow, alongside Frank Holding. The dynasty’s roots go back 125 years to a single branch in rural North Carolina founded with a capital of $10,000.
The First Citizens’ stake makes up the bulk of the family’s wealth, though it has also received at least $35 million through dividends and stock sales over the past four decades, and has diversified into commercial real estate and agriculture.
The year started badly for First Citizens. In the two months to mid-March, stocks fell almost 40% as investors grew nervous about deposit levels and unrealized losses on bond investments at many smaller banks. But since First Citizens announced its acquisition of SVB, the company’s stock has more than doubled, compared to a 15% decline in the KBW Regional Banking Index.
While the family does not own a majority of First Citizens’ equity, it has retained control through the use of a dual class share structure. Holding and its relatives own Class B shares with 16 voting rights each, compared to the single vote for the Class A version, which they also hold. They have passed their fortunes from generation to generation by transferring shares to numerous trusts.
Holding became chief executive officer in 2008, succeeding his father and uncle in running the company. He has helped grow First Citizens by taking on at least a dozen failed lenders since taking office.
Read more: Billionaire family expands First Citizens with insolvent banks
He has already taken advantage of the SVB’s collapse by buying shares in their companies alongside other regional bank executives. According to regulatory filings, the holding company spent $260,000 to buy First Citizens stock at $650 per share in early March. They are now worth 81% more.
To contact the authors of this story:
Benjamin Stupples in London [email protected]
Tom Maloney in New York [email protected]