Local bank signs merger agreement with regional company

Local bank signs merger agreement with regional company

Sometime in first quarter 2016, residents will see another local bank change its name and its charter. Earlier this year, Florida Bank was acquired by IberiaBank, and now The Jacksonville Bank will also lose its local nomenclature.

Georgia-based banking company Ameris Bancorp announced on Oct. 1 the signing of a definitive merger agreement with Jacksonville Bancorp, Inc.

Upon completion of the transaction early in 2016, the combined company will have approximately $5.7 billion in assets, $4.0 billion in loans, $4.9 billion in deposits and a branch network of 101 banking locations across four states, inclusive of Ameris’ recently announced branch consolidation.

The merger agreement was unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company.

“We are excited to announce our merger with Ameris,” said Kendall L. Spencer, president and chief executive officer of Jacksonville Bancorp. “We admire the strong commitment Ameris shows to the customers and communities they serve, and we look forward to offering that experience to our customers.”

The Jacksonville Bank has eight locations in northeast Florida, including one at 4343 Roosevelt Blvd., and one cyber-banking site. After the acquisition, Ameris will become the largest community bank by deposit market share in the Jacksonville market.

“We are thrilled to announce the pending merger with The Jacksonville Bank. This will truly be a perfect fit,” said Andrew Cheney, president and chief operating officer of Ameris Bank. “The Jacksonville Bank is deeply committed to the Jacksonville community and to their customers, which is what we will continue to build off of and support. I already have a lot of knowledge of The Jacksonville Bank’s team and customers, and I am confident they will be a perfect fit with Ameris Bank.”

In July Ameris Bank decided it would move its top executives from Georgia and lease space in Riverplace Tower on the Southbank. By January 1, 2016, Ameris Bank will move in about 40 employees on the 26th floor, and will open a branch on the first floor.

Continuing commitment to community

When The Jacksonville Bank first opened in 1999, it was so named, according to its website, “because we are committed to the success of our city’s businesses and residents.” Cheney, a San Marco resident, noted that the merger will not change that commitment.

JaxBank_01“Ameris Bank’s heritage is being a community bank, focused on providing financial peace of mind to those in our community one person at a time,” he said. “It is critically important to us we continue to honor our history, by further developing and growing a community/market driven company with a bank team fully involved and active in the community. With our executive headquarters in Jacksonville, it is even more important that we fully integrate our company into the Jacksonville community.”

Community involvement has traditionally included annual support of the United Way campaign and sponsorship of The Jacksonville Bank Marathon, however Cheney noted they cannot get directly involved in the marathon while awaiting regulatory approval. “The Jacksonville Bank Marathon is a great community event, and we look forward to continuing to support it,” Cheney said.

Many of its employees also volunteer for/or hold board positions with Junior Achievement, ARC of Jacksonville, Teach America, City Rescue Mission, Jacksonville Women’s Business Center, Elderly Housing Management Corporation, Jax Sports Council and other nonprofits.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News
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