Lewis Royall Holding (Sept. 29, 1927- )
As chairman of First Citizens Bank, Lewis R. "Snow" Holding has guided the growth of a successful Eastern North Carolina financial institution into a bi-coastal banking powerhouse -- one of the largest family-controlled
in the United States.
Born on Sept. 29, 1927, to parents Robert Powell and Margaret (Brown) Holding, Lewis was destined to be in the banking business. His father had joined the Bank of Smithfield in 1918 as cashier and worked his way up to president and chairman of the board.
Known as the Bank of Smithfield, the institution opened in 1898 in the Johnston County town of Smithfield with $10,000 in capital. After several mergers and name changes, the bank adopted a state charter in 1929, becoming First-Citizens Bank and Trust Company.
Lewis Holding grew up in Smithfield, attending Smithfield High School and the Darlington School (Rome, GA). He enrolled at Wake Forest College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received a bachelor's degree. He graduated with a master's degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration.
He served in the North Carolina National Guard (1948-49) and on active duty with the U. S. Air Force as a first lieutenant during the Korean War (1952-53).
Holding celebrated his 50th anniversary at First Citizens Bank. He joined the company in 1953 and quickly rose through the ranks. At the time of his father's death in 1957, First Citizens had $220 million in assets and operated in 32 cities with 46 offices throughout Eastern North Carolina.
Holding served as president of First Citizens from 1957 until 1979, when he was elected chairman. During this period, the bank passed the $1 billion plateau in assets and expanded into other regions of the state, serving every major city and metropolitan area and becoming a financial force in North Carolina.
Today, Holding also serves as chairman of First Citizens Bancshares, Inc., which is among the largest financial holding companies in the nation, and tops $12 billion in assets. First Citizens Bancshares' lead subsidiary is First Citizens Bank. Headquartered in Raleigh, the bank has grown to more than 340 branches across North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
Under Holding's leadership, the company has continued to expand, strategically positioning banking subsidiaries in high-growth areas across the United States. Launched in April 1997, Atlantic States Bank serves customers in Georgia and Florida. Its division, IronStone Bank, focuses on small business, professional and retail markets in western states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. In 2004, Atlantic States Bank will change its name to IronStone Bank to reflect the company's steady growth across the United States.
From its beginning in Eastern North Carolina, First Citizens now provides financial services for customers in more than 200 communities on both coasts.
Holding is the founder of the North Carolina Community Foundation and has served as president and a board member. He also is a former director and secretary of the James E. and Mary Z. Bryan Foundation.
Numerous private colleges and universities have benefited from Holding's and his family's involvement. He is a former chairman of the board of Ravenscroft School in Raleigh.
Holding's influence has extended to the boards of many business organizations, including Occidental Life Insurance Co. and North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry. Among his many awards, he has been honored as Raleigh's Man of the Year.