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Left to right: Reuben Hewitt, Karen Carron, Johnny Nexsen, Gena White, Cindy Ellis, Randy Griswell, Taft Osborne, Lindley Hamilton, Catherine Smith, Kody Stevens, Shanell Cook, Gabrielle Caselnova, and Matthew Lafevor
Left to right: Reuben Hewitt, Karen Carron, Johnny Nexsen, Gena White, Cindy Ellis, Randy Griswell, Taft Osborne, Lindley Hamilton, Catherine Smith, Kody Stevens, Shanell Cook, Gabrielle Caselnova, and Matthew Lafevor

First Reliance Bank is pleased to announce the awardees of the 2021 CEO Award of Excellence. The following employees were recognized and honored during the Associates Meeting in Columbia, SC, on October 10, 2022.

Please join us in celebrating their commitment to excellence.

Denise Lee – Universal Banker
Matthew Lafevor – Sr System Engineer
Danielle Smith – Sr. Wholesale Specialist
Karen Carron – Mortgage Shipper
Catherine Smith – Doc Prep Team Lead
Randy Griswell – Deposit Operations Specialist
Johnny Nexsen – Residential Lending Specialist
Shanell Cook – Treasury Services Specialist
Christopher Taft Osborne – Branch Manager
Lindley Hamilton – Branch Manager and Treasury Services
Kody Stevens – Portfolio Analyst
Gabrielle Caselnova – Marketing Coordinator
Reuben Hewitt – Relationship Banker
Cindy Ellis – Customer Care Specialist
Gena White – Sr. Collections Specialist

First Reliance Bank Recognized as a Top 100 Workplace by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

 

First Reliance Bank has been recognized in the Top 100 Workplaces by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a national, nonprofit public charity dedicated to finding forever families for children waiting to be adopted from foster care in the United States and Canada.  

The Foundation works closely with child welfare advocates and policymakers, provides free resources about foster care adoption, and raises awareness through social media campaigns, public service announcements, and events.  

Rick Saunders, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Reliance, said, “Adoption is personal to me as my wife and daughters were adopted. We are most grateful for the love that has been brought to our family. As a company, supporting our associates who seek to adopt children will remain highly important to our institution.” 

 


 

Chris Laughridge, Market President, Greenville
Chris Laughridge, Market President, Greenville

First Reliance Bank is pleased to announce the promotion of Chris Laughridge to Market President, Greenville. He will be responsible for leading the Greenville team and building the bank’s footprint in the upstate of South Carolina. He graduated from North Carolina State University in 2002, earning a B.S. in Business Management with a concentration in Finance, and the South Carolina Bankers School in 2007.

“We are pleased to announce Chris Laughridge as Market President for the Greenville market.  This strategic decision is based on Chris’s proven ability to deliver high customer satisfaction as a trusted banking advisor. He knows how to lead teams and what it takes to build a strong community bank.  His extensive industry experience will expand our commercial and local business and customer opportunities”, stated Justin Strickland, President, First Reliance Bank.

Laughridge has over 19 years of industry experience in the banking industry, where he has developed ...


David Boulware, Mortgage Loan Officer at First Reliance Ban
David Boulware, Mortgage Loan Officer at First Reliance Ban

David Boulware, Mortgage Loan Officer at First Reliance Bank, has been named the “Best of the Pee Dee’s 2022 Best Mortgage Lender" Winner.  

Boulware began his finance career in 1998 before moving into mortgage-related finance in 2000. He operated his own brokerage and was a mortgage lender with two of the nation's largest commercial banking institutions before beginning his career with First Reliance Bank in 2014.  

“David is an experienced lender focused on new construction, government lending, and purchase loan transactions,” shared Chuck Stuart, President of First Reliance Mortgage. “David provides exceptional customer service, and his knowledge of the Pee Dee and Carolina markets is invaluable to our clients. He’s one of the best.” 

“David Boulware excels in leading our mortgage lending efforts as a top producer in the Greater Florence area,” said Rick Saunders, Founder/CEO of First Reliance Bank. “He rightfully earned the recognition of “Best of ...


South Carolina Bankers School students from First Reliance Bank (left to right ) Thomas Floyd, David Mullins and Weston Peters, and graduate Nathan Ruth with Robert Dozier, First Reliance Bank Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
South Carolina Bankers School students from First Reliance Bank (left to right ) Thomas Floyd, David Mullins and Weston Peters, and graduate Nathan Ruth with Robert Dozier, First Reliance Bank Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Four associates from First Reliance Bank recently completed courses at the South Carolina Bankers School on the campus of Lander University in Greenwood, SC. Nathan Ruth, Sunset Branch Manager, West Columbia, SC, completed the progressive three-year BankExec program and was awarded his diploma during graduation exercises.

The South Carolina Banking Association (SCBA) annually sponsors the South Carolina Bankers School. The SCBA is a professional trade association organized to effectively represent the common interest and welfare of the banking industry in South Carolina and to promote the professional development of its members and their employees.

William Jack McElveen, Jr.
William Jack McElveen, Jr.

William Jack McElveen, Jr. has been named to the First Reliance Bank Board of Directors. Before his retirement, McElveen served as the bank’s Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer. He was responsible for overseeing all credit administration functions, and providing direct supervision and accountability, for Credit Administration and overall asset quality. 

McElveen replaces former board member Dale Porter, who was instrumental in helping launch First Reliance Bank in 1999. Porter retired earlier this month. 

“Dale Porter was instrumental in helping us start the bank. He was a trusted and reliable leader who served in many facets of our financial institution. We will miss Dale and wish him well in his retirement”, shared Rick Saunders, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Reliance Bank. 

McElveen has over 38 years of experience in credit administration in the banking industry. He began his career in the financial services industry with Bankers Trust ...


Rick Saunders and Edwin Lesley
Rick Saunders and Edwin Lesley

Edwin Lesley, Chairman of the Business Development Corporation of South Carolina, recognized First Reliance Bank’s excellent performance during their Annual Meeting on May 5, 2022. Rick Saunders, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of First Reliance Bank, accepted the Participating Partner Award for 2021 for the Greatest Number of Loans Approved in 2021 on behalf of the bank.

Saunders said of the award, “I was surprised to receive the award, one that recognizes everyone’s instrumental role in helping our business customers with their PPP loans last year. I have been proud of how our team accepted the challenge and showed tremendous courage to dig in and help the businesses in our communities. I’m proud to serve on the South Carolina Business Development Corporation board that helps businesses across South Carolina succeed, and I am most proud of the team that I represent behind this achievement!”

Michael Edens and Brent Mackie present The Golden Nail Awards
Michael Edens and Brent Mackie present The Golden Nail Awards

First Reliance Bank is pleased to sponsor the Golden Nail category for this year’s Columbia Chamber of Commerce Impact Awards. The Golden Nail Award strives to spotlight the dedication of outstanding organizations and individuals that make the Columbia region a vibrant place to visit, live and do business. First Reliance Bank recognizes the business or property owners who have made exemplary contributions to the physical characteristics of the greater Midlands region through cosmetic or commercial means during the previous calendar year. This year’s Golden Nail awardees are Smoked Restaurant, Hood Construction, Lucas Group, and Midas.

Martha Cooper, Vice President Residential Lending Specialist
Martha Cooper, Vice President Residential Lending Specialist

Martha Cooper has joined First Reliance Bank as Vice President Residential Lending Specialist. She will be based in Winston-Salem and will help customers with their mortgage financing needs and identify the bank products that can best meet those needs.

“We are thrilled to welcome Martha to our mortgage team,” said Rick Saunders, Founder/CEO of First Reliance Bank. “She is an excellent mortgage lender, and her knowledge of the Piedmont Triad market will be invaluable to our clients.”

Chuck Stuart, President, of First Reliance Bank Mortgage Division, said, “Martha is well known and has an impressive resume of experience in the Piedmont and Triad market. Her passion for mortgage banking will complement FRB’s dedication to delivering highly personalized service. We look forward to the contributions she will make to the growth and success of our business clients and the bank.”

Martha brings more than 15 years of mortgage and residential lending ...


Melinda Blake, Branch Manager
Melinda Blake, Branch Manager

First Reliance Bank announces the promotion of Melinda Blake to Branch Manager of the Mt. Pleasant branch, replacing Weston Peters, who has moved to the bank’s commercial banking division. Melinda will oversee the branch operations, including managing resources and staff. 

“Melinda is a solid leader in the Mt. Pleasant financial marketplace,” said Rick Saunders, Founder/CEO of First Reliance Bank. “She is an outstanding banker with skills to manage our staff to deliver excellent customer service.” 

Melinda brings more than 20 years of financial services experience. She began her banking career training mortgage brokers and transitioned to teller and banker where she has demonstrated solid leadership. She most recently served as a Client Experienced Banker with a local bank before joining First Reliance Bank as Assistant Branch Manager in 2021.