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Justin Strickland, President (Rt),   Frank Bullard, Corporate Community Relations (Lt)
Justin Strickland, President (Rt), Frank Bullard, Corporate Community Relations (Lt)

First Reliance Bank is pleased to announce that Justin Strickland, president, and Frank Bullard, corporate community relations developer, were recognized among the 2021 50 Most Influential business leaders by Columbia Business Magazine and Charleston Business Magazine.

The annual awards recognize and honor each region’s most influential leaders nominated by community members and magazine staff

Strickland oversees the overall commercial platform for the Carolinas-based bank. He also is a prominent Columbia community member and has held leadership positions such as the committee chairman for the Board of Financial Institutions and a member of the executive committee for the Lexington Medical Foundation.

Bullard was recognized in the Charleston area for his role as market president. He oversaw the strategic expansion of the bank’s Charleston market through managing sales and community development. Recently, he was promoted to lead corporate community relations for the bank’s South Carolina and North Carolina regions. Bullard also ...

First Reliance Bank Promotes Two Senior Leaders

First Reliance Bank is pleased to announce Blake Dressler has been promoted to Charleston Market President and Frank Bullard to lead Corporate Community Relations across the bank’s South Carolina and North Carolina footprint. The advancement of these two leaders will help continue the bank’s unprecedented growth and significant expansion in the Southeast.

“Frank and Blake’s long-standing reputation as best-in-class bankers with unparalleled expertise has been an invaluable benefit since they first joined First Reliance Bank. They understand exactly who we are as a company and see the pathway forward to growth and market expansion,” said CEO and Founder of First Reliance Bank, Rick Saunders. “I am excited to see their continued success in their new roles.”

The promotions of Dressler and Bullard come as First Reliance Bank looks to continue its substantial period of record growth. With plans to continue expanding across South and North Carolina and offering new services ...

First Reliance Bank is proud to announce that Robert Dozier, Jr., president of First Reliance Bancshares and chief operating officer of First Reliance Bank, has been appointed to serve as South Carolina’s representative on the American Bankers Association (ABA) Government Relations Council (GRC). The national association is responsible for representing the interests of banks of all sizes across the country, as well as their two million employees.

Dozier is a tenured banking professional with over 31 years of experience in the industry. Prior to joining First Reliance Bank in 2020, Dozier served as executive vice president and chief business officer for Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBA). Dozier oversaw all customer facing departments of the bank including the government and industry relations department. FHLBA is a $80 billion dollar wholesale bank that serves over 850 financial institutions throughout the Southeast.

Dozier currently serves on the South Carolina Bankers Board ...

Donna Smith receiving recognition from First Reliance Bank CEO, Rick Saunders, Jr.
Donna Smith receiving recognition from First Reliance Bank CEO, Rick Saunders, Jr.

First Reliance Bank is proud to announce that Donna Smith, a vice president for consumer lending at the bank’s West Columbia branch, has graduated from the South Carolina Bankers School, hosted at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina. Smith was recommended and accepted into the program as part of First Reliance Bank’s focus on promoting continuing education for its banking professionals.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Donna,” said First Reliance Bank CEO Rick Saunders. “It takes a significant amount of hard work and dedication to graduate from the South Carolina Bankers School. Donna’s accomplishment embodies the culture we strive to build at First Reliance Bank, where our professionals are always interested in continuing their banking education to serve their clients better”.

The prestigious three-year program, offered through the South Carolina Bankers Association, is designed to provide practicing bankers with an integrated and complete set of usable courses covering all aspects ...

Seth DuRoss, Vice President and Human Resources Manager
Seth DuRoss, Vice President and Human Resources Manager

First Reliance Bank has hired Seth DuRoss, a tenured human resources professional, to assist the rapidly expanding community bank. DuRoss will help with recruiting and retaining premier talent for the company’s South Carolina and North Carolina locations.

DuRoss will be working alongside Leslie Chaplin, executive vice president and director of human resources for First Reliance Bank.  

“Seth is a welcomed addition to the team,” Chaplin said. “His wealth of experience in human resources within the banking industry will allow us to continue to identify and recruit top-tier talent to our team. Along with this, he will provide human resources services to the company’s 215 tenured and experienced professionals across North and South Carolina.”  

DuRoss has 13 years of experience in human resources, as well as experience in accounting and bookkeeping. Prior to accepting this position, DuRoss worked with another South Carolina-based community bank.


Chris Laughridge, Senior Vice President and Relationship Banker, Downtown Greenville
Chris Laughridge, Senior Vice President and Relationship Banker, Downtown Greenville

First Reliance Bank has hired Chris Laughridge to serve as senior vice president and relationship banker for its downtown Greenville branch. Laughridge will be responsible for providing advice on business accounts, loans, treasury management services, and investments through First Reliance Wealth Strategy, along with personal banking services to owners and their employees.

We couldn’t be more excited to bring Chris onboard,” said Brian Rogers, First Reliance Bank’s Greenville market president. “His depth of experience in the South Carolina banking industry and his ability to provide effective and efficient solutions for his clients makes Chris a valuable addition to the First Reliance Bank team.”

Laughridge comes to First Reliance with almost two decades of experience in the banking industry, most recently as a senior vice president for a large community bank in South Carolina. He attended North Carolina State University and graduated in 2007 from the South Carolina Banker’s School.

In ...

Ross Foshee, Vice President and Controller
Ross Foshee, Vice President and Controller

Ross Foshee has joined First Reliance Bank as Vice President and Controller. Based in Charleston, S.C., Foshee will be charged with overseeing the bank’s accounting and financial reporting operations as well as providing expertise in bank operations and internal controls.

“We are excited to welcome Ross to the team” said Rick Saunders, CEO of First Reliance Bank. “His experience in the banking industry in the Carolinas will be a valuable asset to our company and will help us continue building a foundation on which we can execute our growth strategy.”

Foshee, a Pee Dee native, brings nearly a decade of experience in the banking industry working as an audit and consulting manager for Elliott Davis, LLC.  He is a certified public accountant licensed in South Carolina and received his bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from the University of South Carolina.

William Jones, Branch Manager - Downtown Greenville
William Jones, Branch Manager - Downtown Greenville

First Reliance Bank has hired William Jones as Branch Manager for its Downtown Greenville Branch. In this new role, Jones will oversee the day-to-day client services and branch operations at 500 E. Washington Street.

“We are excited to welcome William and have his expertise guide our Greenville branch,” said Rick Saunders, CEO of First Reliance Bank. “He’s an experienced manager and will help drive our commitment to delivering an exceptional customer experience to our clients in Greenville.”

Jones comes to First Reliance with more than two decades of experience in retail and business banking, including over a decade as a financial center manager for a large bank in South Carolina. He attended the University of Maryland and is a 15-year veteran of the United States Air Force.  

“William brings an unparalleled level of professionalism and financial expertise to banking.  His clients love him,” said Brian Rogers, Greenville Market President. ...

Blake Dressler - Suzanne Hill
Blake Dressler - Suzanne Hill

Congratulations to Blake Dressler and Suzanne Hill who recently graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at LSU.  First Reliance Bank is very supportive of associate development in the banking profession.

Dressler and Hill are among the 129 bankers who received graduation diplomas on June 2, 2021. This three-year program provides courses covering all aspects of banking, economics, and related subjects.  Students traveled from twenty-on states to participate in this Session.  

Sponsored by 15 southern state bankers associations in cooperation with the Division of Continuing Education at LSU, the banking school requires attendance on campus for three years, with extensive bank study assignments between sessions. The faculty consists of bankers, business and professional leaders, and educators from all parts of the U.S.

"We are really proud of Blake and Suzanne on their accomplishment," said Rick Saunders, CEO.  "We believe in supporting our associates commitment to further their education in the ...

Mike Reichenbach, Director
Mike Reichenbach, Director

First Reliance Bank announced today the recent appointment of Mike Reichenbach to its Board of Directors, effective June 1, 2021.

“Mike is a dynamic business leader and impassioned community member who will bring fresh perspectives to our board,” said Rick Saunders, CEO of First Reliance Bank. “We are excited to have his expertise and counsel guide our work here in Florence and across the Carolinas."

Reichenbach has lived in Florence for nearly 15 years and is owner and president of three automotive dealerships in South Carolina: Mike Reichenbach Ford Lincoln, Mike Reichenbach Volkswagen of Florence and Mike Reichenbach Chevrolet.

Reichenbach is actively involved in the community in Florence. He currently serves on the boards of several local groups, including, the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce, McLeod Health Foundation, Coastal Carolina Hospital, Florence-Darlington Technical College Foundation, Florence School District 1 and the Francis Marion University School of Business advisory board. In ...