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RBC Centura CEO reaffirms commitment to eastern N.C.



RALEIGH, N.C., Mar. 24, 2006 - Centura Banks has had its roots firmly planted in eastern North Carolina since it formed in 1990, merging Peoples Bancorp and Planters Corp. That hasn't changed despite significant growth that has included being acquired by the Royal Bank of Canada and moving its corporate headquarters from Rocky Mount to Raleigh, CEO Scott Custer said.

Custer, appointed CEO in October 2004, visited Greenville recently and stopped by The Daily Reflector with local executives Ron Peoples and John Tulloss. He said RBC Centura remains committed to the area where the bank got its start.

"This is an important part of the state for us," Custer said. "We have 30 percent of our branch network in eastern North Carolina, and it's a part of our company that we're very committed to as far as having some of our best talent here. In some other companies, I think in some instances, there has been a bit of a talent drain away from this region, and we've tried to go the other way and ensure we've got some of best and brightest people here."

Peoples, from Fayetteville, graduated from East Carolina University. Tulloss, commercial account manager for Greenville and northeastern North Carolina, is a Rocky Mount native and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bonner Latham handles business banking for the Greenville area. "We've got three guys here that all have deep Greenville roots," Custer said. "They're as well plugged in and connected to the market as any banker in town, and that's the way we try to do it. These guys operate much like a community bank would operate. They know the market, they live here, they've been around a long time. We empower them to make as many decisions as they can make right here locally. What we try to do from a head office perspective is just support them with more resources than a small bank would have."

RBC Centura, with totals assets of about $19 billion, operates more than 270 branches in five states - North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia (metro Atlanta area) and Florida. The bank has four Pitt County branches - three in Greenville and one in Ayden - and employs about 75 people locally. Peoples said the bank has tried to evolve with the changing economy of the region.

"We kind of grew and transformed from an agricultural bank back in the '60s and '70s and tried to grow with Pitt County ... and what this market demanded," he said. "It has really moved from an agricultural community 20 or 30 years ago into something a lot bigger."

RBC Centura has a direct focus on Greenville's medical market, including a banking program for residents. It also is involved in commercial, industrial and mortgage lending.

Custer said RBC’s approach is "being big but acting small."

"It's nice to be able to work where you've got the resources of an international company and be able to put it in a local perspective," Tulloss added. "More often than not now we're finding companies, even though they're here in eastern North Carolina, are now touching people in Ukraine, Peru, Chile, China. ... You wouldn't think you'd find that kind of stuff in eastern North Carolina, but it's popping up, and it's nice to be able to offer them our international services."

RBC Centura has targeted 2008 for its move into its new headquarters in downtown Raleigh - a 29-story, mixed-use complex that will include office and retail space, as well as 10 stories of residential condominiums. The executive management team is now based in Raleigh, but RBC Centura still has more than 1,000 employees in Nash and Edgecombe counties. Other operations such as product development, marketing and information technology remain largely based in Rocky Mount.

RBC Centura

RBC Centura offers a wide range of financial services and advice, including a complete line of banking, investment, loan, mortgage, life insurance, and other services, to individuals, businesses and public institutions throughout the Southeast. RBC Centura's multifaceted customer access network includes more than 270 full-service banking centers, an extensive ATM network, and telephone and Internet banking. In addition, RBC Centura offers builder finance products through its RBC Builder Finance division. According to the Federal Reserve, RBC Centura is the 50th largest U.S. commercial bank as of June 2005. RBC Centura Banks, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) (NYSE, TSX: RY).

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Kristen Doherty, RBC Centura, (919) 788-6076