FirstBank, the wholly owned subsidiary of First South Bancorp, Inc., and the third largest Tennessee-based bank, signed 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 Hixson, Ooltewah, and Ooltewah, Ringgold and Ft. Oglethorpe).
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,” Holmes said. “We’re also looking forward to establishing a more robust banking presence in Georgia.”
Steve Rownd, the president and chief executive officer of Northwest Georgia Bank who was hired at the Ringgold bank two years ago to help upgrade or sell the bank, called the merger with FirstBank “a perfect fit for our customers.”
“They understand that our customers expect to have a true relationship with their bank and expect great service.,” he said. “This is exactly what they will get with FirstBank.”
Rownd joined Northwest Georgia Bank 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.
Northwest Georgia Bank is the fourth independent bank based in metropolitan Chattanoooga to announce plans to merge this year with larger regional banks. Cornerstone Bank has announced plans to combine with the parent company of SmartBank in Knoxville, FSG is planning to merge with Atlantic Capital Bancshares in Atlanta and CapitalMark is being acauired by Capital Financial.