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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.

Sellers in the CarolinasThe 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 ...

Jack McEleveen, Chief Credit OfficerOctober 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 ...

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 ...

financial_hardshipFinancial hardship can strike anyone. Whether it’s a series of bad decisions, an unforeseen misfortune, or a combination of the two, it’s easy for even the most fiscally responsible person to run into financial problems. Getting back on track can take time, and staying on the right track requires the right habits. Here are some strategies you can use to bounce back from financial hardships.

Understanding Your Available Banking Options

Different people have different needs when it comes to banking. Some people may find that their current needs require special banking programs. Institutions like First Reliance Bank provide various options to help people from all walks of life handle their finances in a responsible matter. Whether it’s a business owner who wants to take a better approach to the company’s financial resources or an individual who needs more money, having the right program is important.

Get ...

business_financeGrowing a business is an exciting and demanding experience. Business owners are generally determined and studious, and this dedication can help them learn the ropes about how to handle a company’s books. When the business begins to grow, things get a little more challenging.

Taking and making payments at various locations can become more important, and you may also be required to manage larger amounts on a regular basis. Business banking programs like the one at First Reliance Bank offer features that most organizations need during expansion.

Features of Business Banking

Companies that have moved beyond the startup phase need to upgrade their bank account. Luckily, business options come pre-loaded with the perks growing organizations need. The first is 24/7 access to money. Business owners often work odd hours and find themselves handling tasks from multiple locations. Constant access to accounts, combined with a wide network of ATMs ...

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 ...

Protect your identity and your bank account with these valuable tips for shopping online. online_shopping_tips

Since the year 2000, the number of online shoppers in the U.S. has climbed from 22% to a massive 79% in 2016 (TechCrunch 2016). Major online retailers like Amazon can offer customers competitive pricing along with the convenience of shopping from multiple devices (home and mobile) and quick delivery. However, as more people share banking and credit card information while shopping online, there has been an increase in hackers and identity thieves accessing sensitive personal data to make fraudulent purchases. To avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and prevent infection of your devices by malware, follow the safe internet activity practices listed below.

Checkout with your credit card - When shopping online, use a credit card rather than your bank issued debit card. Since debit cards are directly linked to your bank account, it comes ...

Get peace of mind knowing your home is safer with these burglary prevention tips. tips_for_home_security

As a homeowner, one of your main priorities is to ensure the safety of your family, and to protect your home and property from theft and vandalism. The key to preventing break ins and vandalism is to make your home a challenging target, meaning the likelihood of being caught is high. Burglars prefer to target homes when the owner is absent, and often at night when it is dark and people are asleep to avoid detection. If a burglar suspects that you are home, or that they will attract attention while breaking and entering, they are more likely to move on to another, easier target where they won’t get caught. If you want to strengthen your home’s security and discourage theft, follow our recommendations listed below.

Adopt a Dog

Not only do dogs make ...

Learn the best approach to not paying too much at the car dealership.tips_for_buying_new_car

Buying a new car can be an exciting and stressful experience. On the one hand, you are investing in a new vehicle to better suit your needs, and on the other, you may anxious about paying too much at the car dealership. Like any business, automotive dealers are looking to make the most profit on any deal. However, with a little research and a few ground rules, you can get the car you want for a price that you can afford. Here are our recommendations for getting the best deal on your new car or truck.

Do Your Homework

Knowledge is power when it comes buying a new vehicle. Never go to a dealership without a clear idea of what you want and what you are willing to pay. Car buyers that have vague ideas of what ...

4 Ways to Save on Your Scell phone imagemartphone


Love it or hate it, your smartphone is probably an indispensible part of your life. If the cost of a new phone or your monthly bill has you bugged, you'll appreciate knowing a few ways to save a bundle.

Repair your existing phone and you can save big money compared to buying a new one. If your phone is a little slow, has some hiccups or is only slightly damaged (and having the latest gadget isn't important to you) a local smartphone repair shop might be able to get it running as good as new. Plus, the diagnostic tests to find out if it can be repaired are usually free.

Sell your old phone. Many cell carriers have trade-in and trade-up programs. You can also get cash for old phones from recyclers like ecoATM or Gazelle, through online garage sale ...

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