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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Recent sale makes Statesboro bank larger
Grice-H-DeWayne Web
DeWayne Grice

Business Ticker

• Hollywood's Barber Shop will relocate to 510 South Main Street (the original Subway location across from Gnat's Landing) after renovations are complete later this month. Hollywood's is currently located at 422 South Zetterower Avenue. (406) 426-2676
• Bi-Lo Grocery store located at the Statesboro Mall is now open 24 hours a day.
• Cake bakery at 58 East Main Street in downtown Statesboro is now offering lunch. The $8.75 combo includes a wrap, side and drink. (912) 681-2253

 

        Mississippi-based regional bank Renasant Corp. announced that it will acquire Georgia-based Heritage Financial Group, the parent of HeritageBank of the South for $258 million in stock. The acquisition will include the two Statesboro branches of Heritage, one on South Main and the second on Northside Drive East.
        It's a combination of two banks that have been gobbling up other institutions.
        Since 2010, Renasant has acquired two banks that were seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as well as the trust business of RBC USA. Then, last year, it took over Mississippi's First M&F Corp. in a $143 million stock deal.
Heritage, founded in 1955 took over four Georgia banks that were seized by the FDIC from 2011 through 2013. It also took over Alarion Financial Services of Ocala, Florida, earlier this year and has bought individual branches.
        According to Heath Fountain, CFO of Heritage Bank, the company entered the Statesboro regional market with the purchase of the Tattnall Bank in Reidsville from the FDIC after it failed in 2009.
        In 2010 they moved into the Statesboro Market in when they purchased two branches of Park Avenue Bank in a restructuring attempt before PAB eventually failed. At the same time they also purchased branches in Baxley and Hazlehurst from PAB.
        In 2011, Heritage purchased First Southern National Bank from the FDIC after it failed in August of that year. Also in 2011, Heritage purchased Citizens Bank of Effingham from the FDIC after its failure with branches in Springfield, Rincon and Port Wentworth.
        It is impossible to say with certainty at this time what, if any effects this will have on the two Heritage Bank branches in Statesboro.
        "With the growth and continued potential in the Statesboro Market we feel there will be very little change there," Fountain said. "Our customers will see a new name and long with that better technology, more products and enhanced services that can be provided from a bank almost three times our size.
        "Renasant is very excited about the opportunity to enter this region, especially Statesboro. We all expect great things to continue in your community and we look forward to being a part of that growth."
        The merger will move Renasant, based in Tupelo, Miss., into southern Georgia and northern Florida for the first time and slightly bolster the bank's position in the Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala., markets.
        "This merger will expand our market share, earnings growth and profitability and is expected to greatly benefit our current and future clients with expanded locations, services and products," Renasant chairman and CEO E. Robinson McGraw said in a statement.
        Heritage, based in Albany, Ga., has $1.9 billion in assets. Renasant says the merger would give it $7.5 billion in assets and 171 offices across Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. The banks say they hope to complete the merger before October 2015. Renasant says it would boost profits immediately and that there is "minimal" overlap of branches, making it easier to hold on to customers.
        If shareholders of both banks approve, Heritage stockholders would get 0.9266 shares of Renasant stock for each share of Heritage. The $258 million value is based on a $27-a-share price for Renasant. Heritage stockholders would own about 20 percent of the combined bank and Renasant would add one Heritage director to its board. Heritage CEO O. Leonard Dorminey would become president of Renasant's Georgia operations.
        "This merger will provide greater resources and operational scale that will allow us to grow larger as part of a larger community bank," Dorminey said in a statement.
        Renasant spokesman John Oxford couldn't say how many of Heritage's 600 employees might lose their jobs in the deal. Renasant projects that it can cut 20 percent of Heritage's costs, mostly in 2015. Renasant says it will incur $30 million in expenses in the combination.
        The Associated Press contributed to this report.

         Please email DeWayne at dgrice@statesboroherald.com or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.

Business Ticker

• Hollywood's Barber Shop will relocate to 510 South Main Street (the original Subway location across from Gnat's Landing) after renovations are complete later this month. Hollywood's is currently located at 422 South Zetterower Avenue. (406) 426-2676
• Bi-Lo Grocery store located at the Statesboro Mall is now open 24 hours a day.
• Cake bakery at 58 East Main Street in downtown Statesboro is now offering lunch. The $8.75 combo includes a wrap, side and drink. (912) 681-2253

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