A few weeks ago, Morris Bank completed its merger with Farmers and Merchants Bank in Statesboro.
The Dublin-based bank’s new signage brings a color that we in the Boro are very familiar with, Blue. In fact, they play up the blue theme in their marketing with slogans like, “It Pays to Bank Blue.”
This is no coincidence: Spence Mullis, president and CEO of Morris Bank is a Georgia Southern graduate, and so is Tracie Morgan, Morris’ director of marketing, along with other members of their leadership team.
The bank’s deep ties to Georgia Southern and community banking operations are two of the many reasons Farmers and Merchant’s bank chose to merge with Morris Bank.
Other than the name change and the migration of their technology, the local face of the bank remains the same.
Brett Morgan, who was the president and CEO of FMB, agreed to continue as the market president for Morris Bank. Also, FMB’s entire leadership team has remained in place through the merger along the staffs of all three bank branch locations.
I see this as a strong indication of what a great fit Morris is with FMB, but it also sends a message that Morris really does not want to disrupt FMB’s leadership and operations since they have deep ties into our community.
“We had many suitors wanting to purchase FMB that just didn’t fit our community bank philosophy,” Morgan said. “After meeting Spence and the Morris leadership team and learning more about their success in operating in similar communities as Statesboro with similar customer bases and banking philosophies we knew they were the right fit for us.”
The combined bank now has total assets approaching $1 billion, with full-service banking locations in Dublin, Gordon, Gray, Warner Robins, Statesboro and Brooklet. More than 300 FMB shareholders continued as Morris shareholders with an investment value exceeding $26 million.
The added financial strength has its advantages, giving the local Morris Bank team the depth to compete on larger commercial loans. They also will expand the mortgage department and increase the mortgage lending staff.
“We are excited to be in Statesboro and partner with Brett Morgan and the FMB team,” Mullis said. “This partnership gives Brett and his team the resources they need to be competitive in meeting the needs of every client in the Statesboro market. Our management model is a decision-based model, which gives our market presidents the same authority as me in making decisions locally. This allows the Statesboro team to move quickly and efficiently to meet the needs of our clients.”
Mullis’s True Blue commitment continues through his son who is currently a sophomore at Georgia Southern University.
Mullis also leads by example when it comes to commitment to the community. He serves as chair of the Downtown Dublin Development Authority and has a deep understanding of the importance of having a vibrant, strong downtown. The Main Branch of Morris is in the heart of downtown Dublin. Projects like the Blue Mile and the Creek on the Blue Mile excite Mullis because he understands the importance of investing in the success and future of a vibrant downtown.
Leonard Blount and Jeff Pope, who were directors of FMB, have joined the Morris Bank board. Blount has also joined the Morris holding company board. In addition, the remaining FMB Board Members will serve on an advisory board for Bulloch County.
Stop in to any of the three Morris Bank locations, visit with people you know and let them share with you their excitement of the opportunities the partnership will bring.