If there is one thing that I have learned since I became Business Tuesday editor six years ago is that movement of executives from one bank to another is pretty common place. For the most part, these moves don't really surprise me, but I have to admit this latest one did somewhat.
HeritageBank of the South, which recently purchased five Park Avenue Bank branches, including the two in Statesboro, just announced that Gary Johnson has accepted a position as southeast Georgia regional president for the bank. Johnson will lead the bank's expansion into this area of the state.
Prior to the move, Johnson served as the chief credit officer of the Sea Island Bank in Statesboro for the past eight and a half years.
"HeritageBank of the South believes in smart, sound lending and local communities," Johnson said. "For me, it was the perfect fit. They would like to expand further into southeast Georgia. This new position will be both challenging and fun, and an opportunity of sorts to return to my roots."
Johnson worked for Eagle Bank for ten years, and then for Park Avenue Bank for a year and a half after it purchased Eagle Bank.
"It is exciting for me to come back to where I worked for so many years," Johnson said. "I was here when Eagle Bank was founded, and I have a lot of fond memories. This will serve as another chapter."
Johnson's region will cover the two branches in Statesboro, as well as the locations in Baxley, Hazlehurst, Reidsville and Collins.
"The success of our regional expansion will directly depend on a strong leader and banker to lead the charge," said Len Dorminey, chief executive officer of HeritageBank of the South. "Gary Johnson's experience and dedication in Statesboro will no doubt be the driving force in acquiring new commercial customers and strengthening our footprint in southeast Georgia. We are glad to have such a great banker and proven leader on our team."
HeritageBank of the South will purchase the Park Avenue Banks located on South Main Street and Northside Drive in Statesboro on May 21. Both branches will open as HeritageBank of the South on Monday, May 24.
"I look forward to being part of the growth and development for HeritageBank in southeast Georgia," Johnson said. "This bank will bring a new standard of banking and business to this area, and personally, I am proud to be part of that standard. I also want the business community to know that we are ready, able, and willing to make commercial real estate loans."
Founded in 1955, Heritage Financial Group is a multi-tier holding company for HeritageBank of the South headquartered in Albany, Georgia with 15 full service branch offices located in Georgia and Florida. The bank's common stock is traded under the symbol HBOS and is listed in the National Market System of NASDAQ. As of March 31, 2010, the company reported total assets of approximately $574 million.