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SC's newest startup bank expands to Daniel Island

Beacon Community Bank

Beacon Community Bank expanded to Daniel Island on April 26. Beacon Community Bank/Provided

South Carolina's newest startup lender has expanded its footprint for the third time since opening its doors three years ago.

Charleston-based Beacon Community Bank ventured into Berkeley County this week by unveiling a branch on Daniel Island, adding to its existing two brick-and-mortar locations on the peninsula and in Mount Pleasant. The newest retail office is at 20 Fairchild St. 

“As we continue our expansion across the Charleston ... area, Daniel Island is a natural move,” CEO Brooks Melton said in a written statement.

Privately held Beacon became the state's first startup bank in more than a decade. It made its debut in early 2018 at 578 East Bay St. in downtown Charleston after raising about $34 million in startup capital from more than 320 local investors led by automobile dealer Tommy Baker.

It expanded about two years ago to Mount Pleasant, where Beacon also bought about 2 acres along U.S. Highway 17 across from Boone Hall Plantation for a future branch and corporate headquarters. It plans to break ground on that project later this year. 

Another retail location is planned for either next year or in 2023. 

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On Daniel Island, Beacon will have no shortage of competition for loans and deposits. At least five banks and S.C. Federal Credit Union have set up shop within the master-planned community's commercial center. JPMorgan, a newcomer to the Charleston market, also has filed plans to add a Chase branch to the mix. 

Baker, who owns Baker Motors and is Beacon's board chairman, said he became the first member to join the Daniel Island Club more than two decades ago after a tour with golf course designer Tom Fazio.

"It’s been amazing to watch the island grow from an idea to a thriving small city," Baker said. "The island is youthful, and we’re a young bank."

Beacon has grown to about $284 million in loans and other assets since 2018. It's also nearing the break-even point. It turned a roughly $280,000 profit in the fourth quarter, narrowing its full-year loss to about $662,000, according filings with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572 or follow him on Twitter at @byjohnmcdermott

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