PORTLAND, Maine — A publicly traded Damariscotta bank has seen the difference one letter can make.

On Tuesday, a New York law firm wrongly identified The First Bancorp’s stock symbol in announcing an investigation of possible wrongdoing in a deal between two North Carolina banks.

Stephen Ward, treasurer and chief financial officer at The First, said the incorrect release had no apparent impact on the Damariscotta bank’s stock price or its shareholders, but he called the mistake “unfortunate.”

“We didn’t see any really unusual activity,” Ward said.

An initial version of the release from WeissLaw LLP mixed up the symbols of The First Bancorp (FNLC) with the North Carolina-based The First National Bancorp (FBNC). Both are traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

The North Carolina bank is buying another, ASB Bancorp, which WeissLaw is investigating for breaches of fiduciary duty and other possible violations in connection with the deal.

“The First Bancorp is not involved in the proposed transaction in any way and has requested the WeissLaw LLP press release be retracted,” the Damariscotta bank said early Wednesday.

The First Bancorp operates 16 offices in Lincoln, Knox, Hancock, Penobscot and Washington counties.

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.