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We've come a long way.

Over the course of nearly two decades in the Florence, SC banking community, Rick Saunders, his brother Paul Saunders, and their colleague, Dale Porter, came to share a dedication to forming strong and lasting relationships with their customers by building trust and providing real value in the community. In short, the three became known as trustworthy, dependable bankers—people you could always count on.

During their careers, the three had observed how mergers and acquisitions (a trend in banking at the time) had caused high turnover in bank leadership, negatively affecting customers. From that observation, they perceived a need for a different kind of bank—a BETTER kind of bank—a bank that operated with the community in mind. The bank they envisioned was driven by strong and distinctive values, and built on the professional abilities and hard work of a strong team of associates.

The bank they envisioned would be a rock in the community, built on trust and relationships. One that went beyond the usual good service and local decisions (a given with a community bank), reaching for a higher standard of making a real difference in their customers’ lives.

In 1999, with the clear and focused intention of creating this “BETTER” bank, they founded First Reliance Bank.

With the help of a core group of dedicated people, Rick, Paul, and Dale shaped the bank—never straying from the founding vision. Today, First Reliance Bank has expanded beyond its hometown of Florence, to serve communities in Midlands, Upstate, and Coastal South Carolina, as well as the Piedmont Triad and Charlotte areas of North Carolina.

During its decades in operation, the bank has received numerous honors, including the Dave Thomas Foundation’s List of “Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces,” “The Top 25 Fastest Growing Companies in South Carolina” (four times running), and one of the “Best Places to Work in South Carolina” (several times).

First Reliance Bank has truly become a better bank, proving again and again that “There’s More to Banking than Money®”

From the founder…



Accomplishments that speak for themselves


Customer Satisfaction Rating


Customers would refer a family member or friend


Banky Award—Institute of Extraordinary Banking


Palmetto 25—South Carolina’s largest publicly held companies

16 consecutive years

“Best Places to Work in South Carolina” — the only company ever to achieve this

10 consecutive years

Best Adoption-Friendly Workplace—Dave Thomas Foundation

What’s in a brand?

A brand is a lot more than a name, a logo, or a couple of colors. It’s a way of thinking. A way of acting. A promise you love keeping!

At First Reliance Bank, our brand is the essence of who we are. To the world around us, it expresses itself in ways that consistently and authentically shows the world who we are—what we’re all about. Internally, it reminds us who we are and how that translates into the way we treat people.

When we live up to our brand, we communicate to everyone we touch—potential and current customers, local businesses, family, friends, and our community—who we are and what we stand for. And better yet, we make them feel like they can connect with us.

Authenticity is at the heart of the First Reliance Bank. We’re down-to-earth, approachable people, who make connections with our customers and our community—showing with every interaction that we understand what’s important to them.

We speak with confidence. So we don’t need gimmicks or shouting. We simply speak honestly.

When we talk about the value we bring to your life, we speak with intelligence and caring.

We’re passionate about our accomplishments, about doing whatever we can to make our customers’ lives better.

History Timeline