SRP Federal Credit Union in North Augusta, S.C., is set to acquire Sardis, Ga.-based Southern Bank.

The two institutions have signed a definitive agreement on the deal and the transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2018, subject to approval by regulators and Southern Bank shareholders.

Upon completion of the transaction, the combined entity will have about $950 million in assets and more than 20 branches in South Carolina and Georgia.

Harry Gunsallus, SRP Federal Credit Union
Harry Gunsallus, CEO of SRP Federal Credit Union

"We are delighted that Southern Bank has agreed to join with SRP Federal Credit Union to help strengthen and expand our presence in the thriving [Central Savannah River Area] region," Harry Gunsallus, president and chief executive officer of SRP FCU, said in a statement. "We admire Southern Bank's high level of personalized service, focus on improving the communities they serve and the commitment they have to doing what is best for their customers. This service commitment is the same model that we live by every day.”

Gunsallus added he believes Southern Bank's five branches are a “perfect fit” for the $851 million-asset credit union’s “Georgia growth plan” and that there is no overlap of existing SRP locations.

“I am convinced this partnership will significantly benefit our customers, our employees and the communities that we serve,” said Preston Conner, CEO of Southern Bank.

Michael Bell, Howard & Howard
Michael Bell, attorney, Howard & Howard

Michael M. Bell, attorney and general counselor at Royal Oak, Mich.-based Howard & Howard Attorneys, acted as legal counsel in the transaction.

"The deal flow continues to increase and I expect to announce more transactions like this prior to the end of 2017,” Bell said. “I also expect this pace to continue into 2018. Smaller banks continue to learn about the option of selling to a credit union and its benefits.”

SRP FCU posted net income of about $8.5 million last year, up from about $5.4 million in the prior year.

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