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FirstBank Closes Merger with Northwest Georgia Bank
Veteran Local Banker Named North Georgia President

NASHVILLE (September 21, 2015) – FirstBank, the wholly owned subsidiary of First South Bancorp, Inc., and the third largest Tennessee-headquartered bank, announced today that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Northwest Georgia Bank in Ringgold, Ga. The acquisition of Northwest Georgia Bank increases FirstBank’s assets to $2.9 billion, and also elevates FirstBank’s deposit market share from 22nd to 6th in the Chattanooga Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The existing six Northwest Georgia Bank branches, four in Hamilton County, Tenn. and two in Catoosa County, Ga., will operate under the name Northwest Georgia Bank, a Division of FirstBank, until the systems conversion is completed, which is expected in May of 2016. FirstBank Chattanooga President Jim McKenzie will head up the four Northwest Georgia Bank branches in the Chattanooga market in addition to the two existing FirstBank branches, both of which opened in 2008. 

Northwest Georgia Bank veteran, Rick Partain, has been named North Georgia President and will lead FirstBank’s North Georgia operations, with the goal of making Northwest Georgia Bank the premier choice for banking within North Georgia.

“We are fortunate to have someone with Rick’s local banking experience to provide leadership in North Georgia,” said Chris Holmes, FirstBank president and CEO. “FirstBank’s approach in all of our markets, large and small, has been to allow as many decisions as possible to be made at the local level by people who know their communities and their customers.” Partain, a lifelong North Georgia resident, said he is looking forward to helping FirstBank grow in the region.

“FirstBank is a perfect match for us,” Partain said. “They understand our market and have a track record of giving back to the communities they serve. They have also been successful in larger markets, and they will provide us with the resources and expertise to help us meet all of the needs of the Catoosa County market and beyond. I’m really excited about being able to introduce FirstBank’s approach to community banking to our customers.”


About FirstBank

Nashville-based FirstBank, a wholly owned subsidiary of First South Bancorp, Inc., is the third largest Tennessee-headquartered bank, with 46 full-service bank branches across Tennessee, North Alabama and North Georgia, and mortgage locations across the Southeast. The bank serves every major metropolitan market in Tennessee and, with $2.9 billion in total assets, has the resources to provide a comprehensive variety of financial services and products. FirstBank follows a community-banking model which began in 1906 when the charter was issued for Farmers State Bank, in Scotts Hill, Tenn. As one of Tennessee’s leading community banks, FirstBank is committed to its role as a leader in the communities it serves. That commitment is reflected by the Ayers Foundation Scholars program, a scholarship fund established by FirstBank Chairman and sole shareholder James W. Ayers to advance higher education for young people in Tennessee.

For More Information:

Jeanie Rittenberry
FirstBank 
jrittenberry@firstbankonline.com 
(615) 313-8328  

Roger Shirley
McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations
rshirley@mpf.com
(615) 259-4000

FirstBank Agrees To Acquire Northwest Georgia Bank

Acquisition Will Substantially Increase FirstBank’s Chattanooga-area Presence

NASHVILLE (May 1, 2015) – FirstBank, the wholly owned subsidiary of First South Bancorp, Inc., and the third largest Tennessee-based bank, announced today the signing of a definitive agreement under which FirstBank will acquire Northwest Georgia Bank in Ringgold, Ga. Northwest Georgia Bank reported total assets of $298 million and deposits of $265 million as of March 31. Terms of the pending acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter, were not disclosed.

“We’re looking forward to increasing our presence in the Chattanooga and North Georgia areas, which have shown tremendous gains in recent years in terms of economic vitality and have gone through a renaissance that has received nationwide attention,” said FirstBank President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Holmes.

FirstBank entered the Chattanooga market in 2008 when it opened a main office on Chestnut Street and a branch operation on Hamilton Place Boulevard. The pending acquisition of Northwest Georgia Bank will increase FirstBank’s assets to $2.8 billion, giving it additional branches in Hamilton County, Tenn., (Hixson and Ooltewah-Collegedale) and in Catoosa County, Ga. (Ringgold and Ft. Oglethorpe). It will also elevate FirstBank’s deposit market share from 22nd to sixth in the Chattanooga Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Following significant growth in the Nashville and Middle Tennessee markets, FirstBank has been exploring opportunities to increase its Chattanooga presence. “This is an important market for us, and we’re excited about the opportunity to join forces with Northwest Georgia Bank and to build on our base of consumer and business customers in the area. We’re also looking forward to establishing a more robust banking presence in Georgia.”

“We understand the expectations of customers who want local bankers making local decisions. We know that customers also want to have access to the financial products and services offered at larger banks. We’re excited about making new friends and building new relationships with the communities in Northwest Georgia as well as in Chattanooga.”

“This is a perfect fit for our customers in Northwest Georgia and Chattanooga,” said Steve Rownd, president and chief executive officer of Northwest Georgia Bank. “FirstBank understands small markets and urban markets. They understand that our customers expect to have a true relationship with their bank and expect great service. This is exactly what they will get with FirstBank.”

Rownd joined Northwest Georgia Bank in 2013 following the retirement of former longtime bank president Wesley Smith. Previously, he served as chairman and chief executive officer at GreenBank in Greenville, Tenn., and helped merge that bank with Florida-based Capital Bank in 2011.

“As the board of directors considered selling the bank, their top priority was to bring in a strong, reputable institution that would treat our customers and the communities we serve with the same down-home service Northwest Georgia Bank has provided for more than 100 years,” Rownd said. “FirstBank, under the leadership of owner and Chairman Jim Ayers and President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Holmes, will do just that.”

FirstBank was advised on the acquisition agreement by UBS Investment Bank and the law firm of Bass, Berry & Sims. Northwest Georgia Bank was advised by Keefe, Bruyette and Woods, Inc., and the law firm of Bryan Cave.

About FirstBank

FirstBank, a wholly owned subsidiary of First South Bancorp, Inc., is the third largest Tennessee-based bank, with 45 banking locations across Tennessee and Alabama, and mortgage locations across the Southeast. The bank serves every major metropolitan market in Tennessee and, with $2.5 billion in total assets, has the resources to provide a comprehensive variety of financial services and products.

FirstBank follows a community-banking model which began in 1906 when the charter was issued for Farmers State Bank, in Scotts Hill, Tenn. As Tennessee’s leading community bank, FirstBank is committed to its role as a leader in the communities it serves. That commitment is reflected by the Ayers Foundation Scholars program, a scholarship fund established by FirstBank Chairman and sole shareholder James W. Ayers to advance higher education for young people in Tennessee.

Fore more information:

Jeanie Rittenberry
FirstBank
jrittenberry@firstbankonline.com
(615) 313-8328 

Roger Shirley
McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations
rshirley@mpf.com
(615) 259-4000