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Debit Card Fraud: What it is and how to avoid it.


As we move deeper into the digital age, the threat of fraud has become more pervasive than ever. Thankfully, the technology that has enabled fraudsters to become more sophisticated can also combat them. Enter AI and machine learning.

These cutting-edge technologies are rapidly transforming the fraud prevention landscape by allowing businesses to identify and prevent fraudulent activity in real time. Through the analysis of vast amounts of data and learning from historical patterns, AI and machine learning algorithms can identify suspicious transactions and flag them for further review.

One of the most significant benefits of AI and machine learning is their ability to adapt to new threats quickly. As fraudsters develop new techniques and tactics, these technologies can evolve and learn from these changes, ensuring they remain effective in the face of emerging threats.

In addition to preventing fraud, AI and machine learning can help businesses reduce false positives, ...

Shanell Cook, Treasury Services Officer, First Reliance Bank Winston-Salem Branch
Shanell Cook, Treasury Services Officer, First Reliance Bank Winston-Salem Branch


Shanell Cook has been promoted to Treasury Services Officer for the Winston-Salem branch. As Treasury Services Officer, she supports the team’s effort to grow the bank’s deposit base through treasury service products. Additionally, she supports team members and clients in the First Reliance footprint with treasury management training, support, and financial analysis with proformas. She will continue in her role, supporting the bank with merchant services and credit card services while serving as liaison with third-party vendors.

Shanell joined the bank in 2021 with 24 years of banking experience with strengths in customer service and treasury services.

Suzanne Hill, First Reliance Market President for Winston-Salem said, “Shanell’s promotion to Treasury Services Officer is well deserved. She is a proven leader who consistently delivers hard work, determination, and a positive attitude to staff and our customers.”

Shanell and her husband of 22 years have six children and are a foster ...

Rick Saunders, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of First Reliance Bank
Rick Saunders, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of First Reliance Bank


Rick Saunders, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of First Reliance has been appointed to the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Health Fund Advisory as Director. As a Board member, Rick, a loyal advocate of the Children’s Hospital within the community, will advise on financial responsibilities with development while participating in third-party community events to support keeping MUSC kids at the forefront of the community. Board members support the efforts of the Children’s Hospital Fund and the Children’s Miracle Network staff and stay current on the hospital’s departmental fundraising needs.

Rick said, "Participation is key to driving positive change and making a difference in our communities. By getting involved in initiatives like the Medical University of South Carolina Children's Health Fund Advisory, we can help improve the health and well-being of children in our state; whether that is through financial support, volunteering, or advocating for the cause, every contribution ...

First Reliance Partners with Apiture


First Reliance Bank is pleased to announce that through our partnership with Apiture, Apiture has received an award, marking its third consecutive win for digital banking innovation. The awards program celebrates outstanding achievements in banking technology implementations and innovations. Apiture earned the distinction for spearheading a digital banking transformation initiative for First Reliance Bank and our 18,000 customers throughout the Carolinas. By using this business banking solution, we have successfully overcome mobile and online banking constraints. 

Rick Saunders, Chief Executive Officer and Founder said, "We have been very pleased with Apiture's platform, customer service, and delivery. Through their banking solution, First Reliance has been able to attract larger business customers, thus driving notable revenue growth."

Ben Brazell, Executive Vice President Retail Banking said, "Our partnership with Apiture further positions First Reliance as a leader in the banking industry. The product delivers like-features as those provided by larger institutions, but ...

Thomas Floyd, Banking Officer, Relationship Banker
Thomas Floyd, Banking Officer, Relationship Banker


Thomas Floyd has been promoted to Banking Officer, Relationship Banker in the Columbia market. Thomas joined First Reliance Bank in June 2021 as a Portfolio Analyst in the Credit Administration Department, and in June 2023, was promoted to Banking Officer. Thomas is a graduate of the University of South Carolina. 

Michael Edens, Senior Vice President and Market President of Columbia, said, "Thomas provides our customers with commitment and accuracy to their banking needs. His relationships and accountability as a relationship banker will continue to position First Reliance as a market leader."

Thomas graduated from the University of South Carolina, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Cum Laude) in 2020 with Majors in Business Economics and Real Estate.


Farewell Frederick (Freddie) R. Saunders, Sr.


Freddie Saunders, 86, of Florence, South Carolina, died peacefully on January 9, 2024, at the McLeod Health Hospice Care.

Freddie was born in Sumter, South Carolina, on May 24, 1937, to the late Carl Frasier Saunders, Sr., and Martha Gardner Saunders. He is survived by his brothers, Carl Frasier Saunders, Jr. and Jimmy Saunders, and his wife, Jane, both of Sumter, South Carolina.

He grew up in Sumter, South Carolina, and began a career with Suburban Propane Gas at the early age of 19, where he remained with the company in a management role until his retirement at the age of 62, working 43 years for the same company.

Believing retirement was the goal, he realized that having days without a sense of real purpose was not as enjoyable as he envisioned, so he launched an entirely new career. From age 63 until his passing at 86 (23 years), ...

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