By Jackie Stewart
This article reprinted from American Banker magazine. Published October 19 2017, 11:00am EDT
First Reliance Bancshares in Florence, S.C., has finally gotten involved in the consolidation wave sweeping the Carolinas.
The $435 million-asset company recently announced the first acquisition in its 20-year history, agreeing to buy Independence Bancshares in Greenville, S.C.
The deal and the company's recent entry into a North Carolina market are designed to help the company stake a claim to independence. While some risk is involved, the strategies are good ones if they are well executed, industry experts said.
Rick Saunders, First Reliance’s president and CEO, is convinced the company will succeed due to a culture that places a high value on employees.
“We’re big believers that associates come first, customers are second and shareholders are third,” Saunders said. “We believe engaged associates equal loyal customers. With those two working well, then the shareholder wins.”
The Carolinas, like much of the country, suffered a steep decline in banks after the financial crisis. Since 2007, the number of bank holding companies based in South Carolina has fallen by 24%, to 42 institutions. In North Carolina, the number of state-chartered banks has been roughly cut in half, with less than 50 remaining.
October 16, 2017, Florence, S.C. — Jack McElveen has joined First Reliance Bank as Chief Credit Officer. As Chief Credit Officer, McElveen is responsible for the management and oversight of the bank’s loan portfolio. He will oversee all credit administration functions and will provide direct supervision and accountability for Credit Administration, Loan Operations, Special Assets and Loss Mitigation & Recovery.
Mr. McElveen has over 30 years experience in credit administration in the banking industry. He began his career in the financial services industry with Bankers Trust of SC/NCNB. Over the following years McElveen served in various credit administration roles with increased levels of responsibility with the last being Chief Credit Officer, EVP, of Horry County State Bank where he was responsible for management and oversight of the bank’s Credit Administration function.
McElveen is a graduate of Clemson University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Financial Management.
“Jack is a strong addition to our First Reliance executive management team,” said Rick Saunders, president and chief executive officer of First Reliance Bank. “He brings a depth of proven credit administration experience onto our lending team. We look forward to working with him as Chief Credit Officer and know he’ll provide guidance and leadership
By Jackie Stewart, American Banker magazine
Published September 26 2017, 2∶29pm EDT
First Reliance Bancshares in Florence, S.C., has agreed to buy Independence Bancshares in Greenville, S.C. The $435 million-asset First Reliance said in a press release Monday that it will pay about $11 million in cash for the $90 million-asset Independence. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter. First Reliance also announced that it had raised $25.1 million from a private placement of common and nonvoting preferred stock to various investors. The funds will help pay for the acquisition.
First Reliance, led by CEO Rick Saunders, is set to expand into Greenville, S.C., with its latest acquisition. "The capital raise will support the bank's simultaneously announced acquisition of Independence and expand the company's footprint into the highly attractive” Greenville, S.C., market, Rick Saunders, First Reliance’s president and CEO, said in the release. “Independence is one of the last locally owned community banks in Greenville … and a franchise with excellent core deposits and tremendous scarcity value.”
First Reliance will have $533 million in assets, $369 million in gross loans, $432 million in deposits and 11 branches in South Carolina when it completes the acquisition. The company also plans to open
September 25, 2017, Florence, S.C. –
First Reliance Bank recently announced they have entered into an agreement to acquire Independence National Bank a locally-owned community bank headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina which has approximately $90.0 million in assets, $76.1 million in deposits and three branch locations. The acquisition is expected to close early in the first quarter of 2018.
“We are a community bank buying a community bank with the goal to continue delivering the community banking model of developing strong relationships with our customers and providing an incredible experience. We are passionate about our purpose ‘to make the lives of our customers better’. We believe that if you achieve delivering your purpose and treat customers right, then financial results will follow.” said Rick Saunders, President and CEO. “We welcome our new customers and associates created by this merger and look forward to serving them with excellent customer service our brand of banking. First Reliance has always been a strong community partner in all our markets and we are excited to support the communities in Greenville.”
First Reliance has a clear business model which it delivers through a “hometown banking” brand, strong culture and core values of community banking. Customers seem to