CertusBank(SM) Buys Branches [Assets] and Trust Division From Jacksonville's Oldest Bank - First Guaranty

Nov 09, 2011, 10:35 ET from CertusBank, N.A.

GREENVILLE, S.C., Nov. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- CertusBank is accelerating its expansion into Northern Florida through the acquisition of assets purchased from First Guaranty Bank.   The Greenville, SC based bank announced the deal which includes $96 million in loans, $211 million in deposits, 7 branches and its Trust Division.  The deal excludes all of First Guaranty's non-performing and other criticized assets.

First Guaranty Bank, (known as) Jacksonville's oldest bank has enjoyed more than 60 years of distinctive service.  "This acquisition is a key component to our long term growth strategy in the Jacksonville market," says Charlie Williams CertusBank's Vice Chairman.  He continued, "We were impressed with their focus on the customer and community, it aligns nicely with the CertusBank model."

First Guaranty Bank Corp, the parent company, will retain one location and certain loans and deposits.  The employees of the acquired seven retail branches and trust company will become employees of CertusBank.

"I am thrilled about this transaction," says Julian "Hickory" Fant, Jr., Chairman Emeritus of First Guaranty Bank.  "The team at CertusBank and its brand matches what my family and I have built for over 60 years.  CertusBank will continue our legacy.  Our customers and employees will be well cared for with CertusBank."

CertusBank, N.A., is a subsidiary of Blue Ridge Holding, Inc. and has $1.8 billion in assets, 35 branch locations, 3 operations centers and several business offices in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Northern Florida.  The bank recently acquired the franchises of the former CommunitySouth, First Georgia and Atlantic Southern Bank in 2011.  CertusBank is one of the best capitalized banks in the country and has plans to grow aggressively throughout the southeast.  The principles of the bank have a long history of running small and large institutions.  CertusBank remains committed to providing unparalleled customer service and innovative solutions.  

The deal is pending regulatory approval.

Lexington Park Group acted as financial advisor to First Guaranty Bank and Shutts & Bowen acted as its legal advisor.  Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz acted as legal advisor to CertusBank.

SOURCE CertusBank, N.A.