April 26, 2016, Florence, S.C. — First Reliance Bank is now accepting applications for its annual Francis Marion Scholarship through May 31, 2016. The First Reliance Bank Scholarship recognizes and assists outstanding students who are pursuing a degree in business or finance. Administered through the Francis Marion University Foundation, the scholarship program has been helping area-wide students to meet their academic financial obligations since 2010.
“First Reliance Bank believes in encouraging continuous personal improvement and the Francis Marion scholarship program is one way that we can make a difference with our community's youth,” said Rick Saunders, president and CEO of First Reliance Bank. “Making your way through school can be challenging — especially if you're committed to staying at the top of your class. We're proud to partner with Francis Marion to help outstanding students with their financial obligations so that they can focus on achieving their academic goals.”
To be eligible for the scholarship you must be a business or finance major, a First Reliance Bank customer or an immediate family member of a customer; a graduating senior of any school that banks with First Reliance Bank; a dependent of an employee who works in any South Carolina Bank, or a
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 8:11 am
BY JOE PERRY Morning News
FLORENCE, S.C. – Leaders of business and industry gathered Tuesday evening at the Hilton Garden Inn to welcome representatives from Ruiz Foods, Honda of South Carolina, South East Express and Johnson Controls who have recently moved to the area.
The event was sponsored by First Reliance Bank and Raldex Hospitality. The aim was to simply welcome newcomers and let them know Florence is happy to have them, said Joan Billheimer, community development officer for the bank.
“We’re getting ready to start the second line,” said Jim Bowman, Ruiz Foods’ operations manager. “Things are looking good. so we’re excited to make product.”
Bowman, who hails from Davenport, Iowa, joined the family-owned and California-based company after working for Oscar Meyer for 20 years, and was referring to a line of snack foods known as Tornados that are commonly found on convenience store roller grills.
It was at the company’s Denison, Texas, plant where he first started working for Ruiz Foods, and now he’s happy to have moved with his family to the Pee Dee.
“A great company to work for,” he said. “They’re really people-oriented; a great culture as well.”
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Florence banking community flourishes over the years
This excerpt of the article was posted, Wednesday, March 23, 2016 8:00 am in the Morning News. The article was written by and is posted in Courtesy of JOE PERRY Morning News email@example.com The full article can be viewed by clicking on the following link: http://www.scnow.com/news/business/local/article_f5652b8c-ed18-11e5-9401-4bce3de4e58e.html
FLORENCE, S.C. – When Rick Saunders was a young man still finding his way in the world, he fell in love. With the finance industry.
“I tripped over myself and landed in it,” he said, laughing. “I was a typical young man concerned about what path in life I would take.”
The 55-year-old Sumter native who grew up in Timmonsville first worked in consumer finance before delving into banking.
“It wasn’t until a company I was working for was sold to a much larger organization that I realized the need for clarity around my beliefs and the definition of success,” he said.
During this defining time in his life, the concept of First Reliance was born.
Having innovative ideas and his creativity stymied was also “extremely frustrating,” he said, and when his brother Paul and good friend Dale Porter came up with the idea to start their own bank, he was intrigued.
Feb 12, 2015, Florence, S.C. - Rick Saunders, President/CEO was recognized with an Entrepreneur Award from the Florence Darlington Technical College February 11, 2016 at their second annual entrepreneurial forum.
Rick, his brother Paul and friend, Dale Porter started the bank because they saw a need for a bank that was designed and operated with the community in mind. One with strong values, and an even stronger team of associates. They saw a need to create a bank that could become a rock in the community, based on trust and relationships; one that could make a real difference in the lives of its customers. They saw a need for a better bank. So they followed their dream to start a bank and contribute to their community in 1999 and First Reliance Bank was born.
It took hard work and passion and learning from others, all traits the other recipients of this year’s Entrepreneur Award also cited. Saunders credited the desire to be a compulsive learner who strives to read two books a month and keep a 5 mentor arsenal ready at all times. He is most proud of how associates of the bank stay involved in and contribute to betterment of the