First Commerce expands presence in South Georgia with purchase of The Citizens Bank

Two financial institutions with community-minded philosophies will join forces to enhance the financial well-being of the individuals and businesses they serve

Sept. 16, 2019 – First Commerce Credit Union today announced plans to purchase and assume certain assets and liabilities of The Citizens Bank, headquartered in Nashville, Ga.

The transaction enables First Commerce to serve more communities as their financial partner for life by providing a broad range of financial solutions that have been enjoyed by thousands of loyal First Commerce members over the years. Business will continue as usual at the bank until the transaction closes, which is expected during the second quarter of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions and shareholder and regulatory approvals.

The purchase has been approved by the boards of directors of both institutions. After the closing of the transaction, First Commerce will expand its presence in South Georgia to 7 locations with the purchase of all 4 branches of The Citizens Bank. This will include First Commerce’s existing locations in Valdosta and Thomasville and the bank’s branches in Nashville, Ray City, Adel, and Valdosta. Combined with its 9 existing locations in Florida, First Commerce will have a total of 16 locations in South Georgia and North Florida and will exceed $800 million in assets and employ more than 200 team members across both states.

“First Commerce’s leadership is committed to providing financial solutions that meet the diverse needs of our members,” said Cecilia Homison, CEO of First Commerce. “We have found a true partner in The Citizens Bank who believes in our vision to empower people to enhance their financial well-being. Together we will deliver exceptional member experiences while offering a wide variety of products and services that help to build stronger communities.”

“After careful consideration, I am convinced First Commerce is the right financial institution partner to help The Citizens Bank continue to serve our employees, customers, and our community into the future,” said Bill Perry, President of The Citizens Bank. “They share our values and will greatly enhance our ability to serve our customers in new and improved ways. I have also been impressed by their commitment to community and financial education.”

As a respected member of the community and longtime banking professional, Bill Perry will work with First Commerce as a strategic advisor providing invaluable assistance during the transition. Steve Perry will join First Commerce as Market President for the region, overseeing all services in the 7 South Georgia locations. In addition, First Commerce plans to keep all Citizens Bank employees.

Dr. Jerry Osteryoung, Chairman of First Commerce, added, “This agreement reflects First Commerce’s forward-thinking approach in continuing to grow our cooperative model, and enhancing the value of our organization in a way that benefits all of our members.”

First Commerce was advised in this transaction by Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, as legal counsel, and Skyway Capital Markets, LLC, as financial advisor. The Citizens Bank was advised by Alston & Bird LLP.

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Established nearly 80 years ago in 1940, First Commerce is an award-winning, full-service community credit union with $620 million in assets and 150 team members. In 2018, First Commerce was ranked among the top 100 credit unions in deposit growth in the nation and has been the No. 1 auto lender in Tallahassee for more than 16 years running. As a not-for-profit cooperative, First Commerce is owned by the more than 55,000 business and community members it serves throughout Northwest Florida and South Georgia. First Commerce has 12 financial centers including 8 in Tallahassee, 1 in Marianna, 1 in Thomasville and 2 in Valdosta.

First Commerce offers a wide variety of products and services for consumers and businesses, along with investment services through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Six Pillars Financial Advisors; insurance services including auto, home, and life through First Commerce Insurance Agency; and financial education through the FCCU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

First Commerce is a Florida state-chartered credit union and federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), and is an equal opportunity lender.

For more information, visit or or call 1-800-533-5772 or (850) 488-0035.

Established in 1943, Nashville, Georgia-based The Citizens Bank is a privately held commercial bank, state chartered and FDIC insured, and currently has approximately $250 million in assets, approximately 15,000 customers, 75 employees, and 4 locations in Nashville, Ray City, Adel, and Valdosta, Ga. The Citizens Bank serves all of the South Georgia area by providing credit to all creditworthy customers, providing safe and sound deposit opportunities for all residents of the community and gives back to the community by supporting cultural, education, sports and all other community events and activities that promote the well-being of their citizens and the growth of a better life for all who live within the community.