CEO Spotlight – Don May, The First, A National Banking Association

Don May is the Market President for The First, A National Banking Association. The First is based out of Hattiesburg, Mississippi and acquired both Farmers & Merchants Bank and Sunshine Community Bank (formerly Sunshine Credit Union) in 2018. As a result of the acquisitions, The First has 7 branches in the market (6 in Tallahassee and 1 in Monticello), with over $465 million in deposits and 74 employees.

The First was founded in 1996 in Hattiesburg and still has the same Board of Directors that founded the bank. Although the bank has always been publicly traded (NASDAQ: FBMS), The First remained a small community bank until approximately 2009, when the Board decided to begin growing through acquisitions. With the recent announcement of the pending acquisition of First Florida Bank in the Destin/Panama City market, The First will have approximately $4 billion in assets (including almost $1 billion in the State of Florida) and will have 78 offices in Mississippi, Florida, Alabama Louisiana and Georgia. The bank focuses on community involvement (and is a Certified Community Development Financial Institution) and emphasizes volunteering with local organizations.

Born and raised in Tallahassee, Don graduated from Godby High School, Tallahassee Community College and Florida State University. Don received his MBA from Troy University. He is a second generation Tallahassee banker and began his career in 1990 with Southeast Bank in Miami. He moved back to Tallahassee in 1991 with Southeast and joined Farmers & Merchants Bank in 1995. He was the City Executive for FMB for 12 years, prior to being named the Market President for The First in December of 2018. Don’s wife, Kristie, is a Kindergarten teacher, and they have two daughters (Haley Chandronnet and her husband, Stuart, and Morgan May). In his spare time, Don is the drummer for Highway 85, a local Tallahassee band that has been recognized as the Best Local Band of 2016 (Tallahassee Democrat Demo Awards) and is a finalist for Best Band of 2019 for Tallahassee Magazine’s Best of Tallahassee.