In December 2018, CCF Holding Company, Heritage Bancorporation, Inc. and Providence Bank announced the signing of a definitive agreement that HBI will merge with and into CCF, and a subsidiary of CCF will merge into Providence, according to businesswire.com.
“The banks will maintain their existing names, executive management teams and boards of directors,” the article read. “The combination of three community banks under one holding company will create a growth-oriented banking franchise, with branches in Georgia and northeast Florida.”
The merger will be officially effective in August, according to Heritage Bank President and CEO Brian Smith, and all employees were told the day after the merger was announced. The bank itself has remained independent for 107 years, but with the merger, it will become a publicly traded entity, he said.
Along with the merging of the holding companies, the bank charters will also be merged, Smith said. There will be no major changes to the branch, and all the people, services and practices will remain the way they were.
The merger will provide better resources for the bank and for the clients. Within the merger of the three banks, the best practices will be adopted and implemented across all branches, in an effort to improve and streamline the process.
“There are advantages to the merger,” Smith said. “As a larger institution, we’ll have better resources, we’ll have more employees together obviously, and together we’ll just be stronger. We’ll have more effective buying power, we’ll gain efficiencies. The Heritage Bank has been a billion dollar bank before, so this isn’t new territory for us. We have the talent to help us grow back into that.”
Smith emphasized that on the client side, Heritage Bank will be able to offer a wider array of products, and the internal changes happening will affect the consumer or client in a minor way, if at all. Everybody worries about when banks do this, Smith said. But, we’re the oldest bank in the area, and everyone else has done this.
“From a client standpoint, it should not change anything as far as the products and services we offer,” Smith continued. “In fact, the services could be enhanced. That is our intention. As far as what the client will see—the reality is, our branches are all staying the same, and the people are staying the same.”
There will be changes, and I would be remiss if I didn’t say that. But one of the things we talked about was that it is client service first, Smith added. “It’s about making this as seamless a transaction as we can for the client.”
Should there be any questions, Smith encourages Heritage Bank clients to come in and speak to someone so any questions and concerns can be answered.