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Live Oak Bank Seals Five-Year Incentive Deal with New Hanover County

Live Oak Bancshares opened its corporate headquarters in Wilmington five years ago. 

The bank now boasts 130 employees and is growing.   To encourage expansion locally, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted Monday to grant incentives over a five-year period to the Bank. 

The niche-lender is already one of the nation’s most prolific Small Business lenders and, according to one local economist, could have a financial impact on the county of fifty-seven million dollars.

The county’s deal for Live Oak Bancshares is this:  spend at least $16 million in New Hanover County over the next five years on company expansion, and create at least 120 jobs with average annual salaries of $80,000.   If those benchmarks are met, the County will deliver cash payments, called an Industrial Development Grant, of up to 325-thousand dollars over the same period. 

Scott Satterfield, CEO of Wilmington Business Development and one of the key brokers of the deal, says this incentive sends the message that the county is serious about economic opportunity. 

“But we have to be in the business of encouraging companies.  It’s what this great country’s going to have to do.  Everywhere we travel, everywhere we go to meet with clients, consultants, every community knows they’ve got to be serious about economic development.  They know they’re going to have to do shared risk and shared reward to encourage companies to be in their area.” 

Higher-paying jobs that are increasingly given to local residents, including UNCW graduates, and the projected financial impact are some of the reasons cited by members of the Board for green-lighting the incentive. 

The deal passed four to one with Brian Berger as the lone dissenter.   

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.