Merger of banks taking next steps

Both Steve Gresham and Tracy Davidson agree the upcoming merger of Bank of Holly Springs and Citizens Bank is a great fit.

“How we operate and how they operate are very similar,” said Gresham, president and CEO of Bank of Holly Springs. “Both banks have a long history of serving our communities. Combined, we will be able to do even more.”

“Like us, the Bank of Holly Springs is very committed to its customers and its community,” said Davidson, president and CEO of Citizens Bank. “It’s a very exciting venture for both of us.”

The agreement was signed July 31 and announced in the August 6 edition of The South Reporter.

“We’ve been working on it since I guess January or February,” Gresham said.

Both banks celebrated milestone anniversaries last year ­ the Bank of Holly Springs 150 years and Citizens Bank 100 years. That’s a combined 250 years of service.

“These two banks and the leadership of the banks have been close through the years,” Davidson said.

“Being a small bank, people were knocking on our door about opportunities to purchase. Our top concerns were our employees, our customers and our community. We wanted to partner with a bank that does things pretty much like we do. We found that with the Bank of Holly Springs.”

Gresham said it wasn’t the first time Bank of Holly Springs and Citizens Bank had discussed a merger.

“We’ve been looking to expand before,” he said. “When I got the call asking us to put in a bid, I took it to our board of directors, and they were excited.”

As far as next steps, Citizens Bank stockholders have to vote to approve the merger, and at the same time, the Bank of Holly Springs will be working on regulatory approval from the FDIC and the Mississippi Department of Banking.

“Once that’s done, we will be ready to close (on the deal),” Gresham said.

An anticipated closing date should come in November or December.

As far as services, both Gresham and Davidson said customers will see few changes, if any, after the merger is finalized.

“There may be some difference visually, but the products we offer should be similar,” Gresham said.

What will appear on the front of the newly-acquired Citizens Bank buildings is undetermined. Gresham expects something like the Bank of Holly Springs uses in other communities with Potts Camp Bank and Abbeville Bank as the names of those branches.

Gresham anticipates no staff changes.

“Plans are to continue what we’re doing at all locations,” he said. “No one is expected to be moved from one location to another, and we’re not planning to let anybody go. In fact, there may be new opportunities open up.”

The Bank of Holly Springs is buying all the stock of Citizens Bank. As of the closing date, oversight will go to the Bank of Holly Springs board of directors. Board members are Steve Gresham, Dick Sanders, Sherwin Haynie, S.B. “Tubby” Gresham, Fred Carlisle, Steve Elgin, Orma Smith and Jeffrey King.

“It has all been positive on our side of things,” Davidson said. “Our board is excited, and our employees are excited. This merger will help us in a lot of areas. It will ease some of our administrative work and help us focus even more on our customers and community.”

On a pro forma basis, and based on financial information as of March 31, the combined company would have assets of approximately $340 million, loans of approximately $215 million, deposits of approximately $275 million, and would operate eight full-service branches.

Holly Springs South Reporter

P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
PH: (662) 252-4261
FAX: (662) 252-3388
www.southreporter.com

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