South State Corporation and Southeastern Bank Financial Corporation Friday announced plans to merge and continue joint expanded operations in South Carolina and Georgia.
Southeastern is the holding company for Georgia Bank & Trust Company of Augusta. It also operates as Southern Bank & Trust in Aiken County. Southeastern Bank Financial Corp. was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Augusta, Ga.
South State Corp. is the largest bank holding company headquartered in South Carolina and was founded in 1933. It is the parent company of South State Bank, its primary subsidiary, which operates in 24 South Carolina counties, 13 Georgia counties and four North Carolina counties.
South State Corp. has assets of approximately $8.7 billion. Southeastern Bank Financial Corp. has assets of $1.9 billion. Southeastern Bank Financial will be merged into South State Corp. and Georgia Bank & Trust Co. of Augusta will be merged into South State Bank.
The merged banks will all operate as South State Bank, officials said, and the merger, unanimously approved by both company’s board of directors, is a “natural fit,” said Robert R. Hill Jr., South State Corporation CEO.
“This is a 30-year-old company that is number two in market share in Augusta,” Hill said. “It’s an older bank with a deep penetration in the Augusta market, and we didn’t serve the Aiken-Augusta area.”
“(This) really helps round out our South Carolina and our Georgia presence,” Hill said.
The merger, which still must gain regulatory approval, pushes South State Bank’s assets past the $10 billion regulatory threshold. The merger also positions South State for for further growth and acquisitions and enlarges the bank’s footprint to 133 locations in the three states.
If regulatory and shareholder approval goes through, the merger will close in the first quarter of 2017.
Roddie Burris: 803-771-8398