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News from First Reliance Bank

Saunders awarded Order of the Palmetto1The Order of the Palmetto is the highest civilian honor awarded to citizens of South Carolina for extraordinary lifetime achievement, and for national or statewide service.  The Order of the Palmetto is a once in a lifetime achievement.  South Carolina State Senator, Hugh Leatherman, presented the Order of the Palmetto Award to F.R. “Rick” Saunders on behalf of Governor McMaster at a luncheon on Friday, March 15th at the Florence Country Club. “I am honored to receive this recognition,” said Saunders.  “Early in my career I made the commitment to be involved in the communities we do business in and try to truly make a difference. I was fortunate to expand that to the State level as the bank grew and more opportunities arose.” Some of the highlights of Mr. Saunders career include an appointment by previous Governor Mark Sanford to the South Carolina State ...

CINDY_COWARDCoward brings more than 20 years of experience in human resources.

First Reliance Bank announces the addition of Cindy Coward as Vice President of Human Resources. Coward joins First Reliance with more than 20 years of experience in human resources. Her background includes leadership roles with major corporations where she was recognized for a number of successful employee engagement initiatives and for developing and implementing highly effective human resources programs. “From the start, community-minded professionals have been the backbone of the bank,” said David Barksdale, North Carolina president, First Reliance Bank. “We view the HR function as something more than people and policies. It’s a multi-faceted area that is critical to shaping the future growth of the bank. Cindy’s background, skills and record of success in that space, fits our culture and I know that she will make a difference for our associates and our customers.”      ...

Tracey HillFirst Reliance Bank announces the addition of Tracey Hill as director of treasury services. In this role, Hill will be responsible for developing and managing the bank’s commercial deposit relationships across the bank’s footprint.

A certified treasury professional (CTP), Hill’s background includes close to 30 years of experience in treasury management, operations and sales with banks located in Charlotte, N.C. In addition, his experience includes the formation of a treasury services platform for a community bank, which provided him the unique perspective from the ground up on how to design and implement cash management solutions for small businesses.

“Experienced treasury service bankers like Tracey are a trusted resource for our business customers,” said David Barksdale, North Carolina president, First Reliance Bank. “He is extremely knowledgeable about the available banking products and skilled at identifying the most effective options for managing cash. Tracey’s ‘do what it ...

Rick and Curtis Loftis SC State TreasurerFirst Reliance Bank CEO, Rick Saunders, was recently recognized by SC State Treasurer, Curtis Loftis,  Saunders served twelve years on the State Board of Financial Institutions.

(Pictured L to R:  SC State Treasurer, Curtis Loftis and First Reliance Bank CEO, Rick Saunders)

Andy_McDowell_PhotoApril 3, 2018, Florence, SC – First Reliance Bank is pleased to welcome Andy McDowell, Fuller Parham and David Dahl to the Winston-Salem Loan Production Office, which opened in the fall of 2017.

McDowell serves as Senior Vice President and City Executive for the Winston-Salem, NC market.  In his new role, he will be charged with developing and managing banking relationships with small-to-mid-size business owners.  He will also be responsible for building the First Reliance Bank team and promoting their brand in the greater Forsyth County market.  McDowell brings more than 30 years of banking experience to the position, most of which has been in leadership positions in the Winston-Salem area.

First Reliance Bank is also adding two new relationship bankers to the existing team showing their commitment to Winston-Salem.  Fuller Parham and David Dahl have joined the team which already includes Alan Lomax.

Robert_Fuller_Press_ReleaseMr. Parham received his MBA from Wake ...

President's Club LOGO-2017March 29, 2018, Florence, S.C.  – First Reliance Bank recently announced that eighteen associates have been named to the 2017 President’s Club.

Each year, as part of the bank’s associate rewards and recognition program, all managers have the opportunity to nominate an outstanding associate and submit a detailed reason of why the chosen associate deserves the award.  Executive Management then carefully reviews the nominations and selects the associates who go above and beyond performance expectations and who are the best role models for living the values of First Reliance Bank.

President’s Club awards are for outstanding sales and service, operational excellence, professional, and leadership.   The 2017 President’s Club Winners are: Marie Wheeler, Florence Service,  David Mullins, Florence Service,  CM Brown, Florence Sales, Pam McCaskill, Florence Sales,  Tracy Brown, Lexington Service, Jason Koth, Lexington Sales, Bobby Mathewes, Charleston Sales, Shaniqua Pinckney, Charleston Service, Tina Tran, Greenville Service ...

brazellpictureRapidly growing First Reliance Bank promotes one of its top executives to the position of President of South Carolina.
March 27, 2017, Florence, S.C. — Banking executive Ben Brazell has been promoted to the role of President South Carolina as part of the growth strategy of Florence-based First Reliance Bank. He will oversee sales management and community development for all South Carolina markets, as well as leading the growth initiatives of branch and market expansion, strategic acquisitions, and is responsible for the profitability of the SC sales platform.

During his career, Mr. Brazell has held a number of positions in the banking industry, including sales management and executive leadership. Prior to coming to First Reliance, he served as Market President in Tennessee for a national bank, where he provided leadership and strategic direction to all business lines and activities. Most recently, he has served as First Reliance Market President for ...

INB Main OfficeFLORENCE, S.C., Jan. 24, 2018 -- First Reliance Bancshares, Inc. (OTC Pink:  FSRL) ("First Reliance") today announced that it completed the acquisition of Greenville, South Carolina-based Independence Bancshares, Inc. (OTCQB:  IEBS) ("Independence") effective January 23, 2018.  Independence's bank subsidiary, Independence National Bank, was merged with First Reliance's bank subsidiary, First Reliance Bank, with First Reliance Bank continuing as the surviving bank.  The full conversion of the Independence National Bank systems is expected to be completed by March 5, 2018.

The acquisition of Independence National Bank expands First Reliance's presence in the dynamic Greenville, South Carolina market and is an integral part of the bank's broader strategy to expand its footprint in top-tier markets throughout North and South Carolina.  The acquisition gives the existing First Reliance team in Greenville additional resources to expand its presence in the market, and provides further momentum in executing the bank's ...

David Barksdale has joined First Reliance Bank as President of North Carolina. Barksdale is responsible for the strategic market expansion of First Reliance Bank’s footprint in North Carolina. He will oversee sales management and community development for all North Carolina markets. Mr. Barksdale has over 30 years experience in the banking industry. Most recently, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Carolina Premier Bank/Premara Financial, Inc. Prior to that Barksdale served in various executive roles at NewBridge Bank with increased levels of responsibility the last being Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, where he led the identification and implementation of bank acquisition opportunities. Barksdale is a graduate of Wake Forest University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. He is active in Boy Scouts of America, Community Investment Corporation of the Carolinas, and has held various board positions in the following organizations which include ...

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 ...