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Sale of Citizens Bank to be finalized Friday

Having secured the approval of all regulatory agencies, the acquisition of Citizens Bank by First National Bank of Decatur County is expected to close on Friday. The bank will reopen Monday as First National Bank, according to Citizens Bank President Edgar B. Smith III.
It was announced in June that the county’s oldest financial institution was being acquired by the Decatur County based bank.
With the completion of the sale, the long history of the Searcy family’s involvement with the bank will come to an end.
The Searcy family has been the majority stockholders of the bank, which was founded in January 1904, since the late 1950s.
Following a short transition period, President Smith will retire. First National has hired Barry Pollock, most recently associated with Ameris Bank, as the head of the bank here.
Brad E. Barber is the chief executive officer of First national Bank.
Smith has served as the president and CEO of Citizens Bank since December 2008. He came to Cairo in 1992 to become president of the former Cairo Banking Company and continued to serve in that capacity after it was acquired by ABC Bancorp and became Ameris Bank Cairo. Smith retired from Ameris in Dec. 2006.
First National Bank of Decatur County was organized in 2004 by a group of Decatur County businessmen and community leaders.
The current First National Bank board will remain intact and Charles Whittaker will continue to serve as chairman of the board.
Citizens Bank opened its doors on Jan. 1, 1904 having obtained a charter on Dec. 3, 1903.
As of March 31, 2016, First National Bank had 18 employees and approximately $119 million in assets, loans of $78 million, deposits of nearly $100 million and equity of $13.6 million. Citizens Bank Cairo had 11 employees and approximately $32 million in assets, loans of nearly $19 million, deposits of $27 million and equity of $4.5 million. The combined company will have nearly $151 million in assets and will operate two offices: Bainbridge and Cairo.
Friday’s closing comes more than two years after the Citizens Bank board began negotiations with First National Bank, according to President Smith.

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