1st Financial Services, the parent company of North Carolina-based Mountain 1st Bank and Trust, has formed new Mountain 1st Bank and Trust Private Banking Division.

The newly formed division will handle the banking needs of high net worth clients who desire individual attention and specialized service. Mountain 1st will provide exclusive deposit and loan products to serve this market niche.

Barbara Bridges, a tenured banker in Western North Carolina with approximately 20 years of banking experience, will manage the new division.

Michael Mayer, CEO of 1st Financial Services, said: “We are pleased to capitalize on one of our primary strengths, a solid retail distribution system and an outstanding customer service culture, by expanding into a line of business that will appeal to large deposit customers in Western North Carolina. I was attracted to our company due to the proven depositing gathering capacity and felt we needed to expand on this core competency.”

Ms Bridges said: “I am excited to be part of Mountain 1st and believe the community banking platform is ideally suited to meet the high standards our target client desires. Mountain 1st Bank is attractive to me due to their focus on the customer and excellence in service.”

Vince Rees, president of 1st Financial Services, said: “We are pleased to have Ms Bridges as a valued member of our team. She has a proven track record of growing a private banking line of business and has deep roots in the communities we serve. The combination of our strong brand, customer oriented branch system, and her large following in the Western North Carolina, gives me great optimism as we launch this new line of business.”