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First Bank of Alabama completes initial steps toward acquisition of SouthFirst

First Bank will acquire SouthFirst

First Bank of Alabama in Talladega (left) has cleared hurdles toward acquiring SouthFirst Bank in Sylacauga. 

TALLADEGA -- First Bank of Alabama announced Tuesday evening it has taken the first steps toward acquiring Sylacauga-based SouthFirst Bank.

The companies “announced today the signing of a definitive agreement, whereby First Bank will acquire 100 percent of the stock of SouthFirst Bank,” with the latter being merged into the former as part of the transaction, according to the release. 

Other financial terms were not disclosed.

“After adding SouthFirst Bank locations in Sylacauga, Talladega and Clanton, First Bank will operate 11 full-service locations across east central Alabama,” the release said.

First Bank President and CEO Chad Jones said Tuesday, “We are excited to partner with the SouthFirst Team. This combination will expand our presence in Talladega County and in particular will give us a physical location in the southern end of the county, while also allowing us to enter the Clanton and Chilton County markets. 

“We eagerly anticipate the addition of SouthFirst associates to our bank family. SouthFirst customers will be positively impacted with exceptional service and a diverse array of product offerings.”

SouthFirst President and CEO Randy Fields said he could not be happier about the announcement. 

“We could not be more pleased to join the First Bank of Alabama family as their culture and commitment to local communities are very similar to our own,” he said. “This combination is an attractive fit for our bank, offering a comprehensive set of products and services to our customers and an expanded geographic diversification. The combined institution will enhance our ability to serve our customers and employees.”

Although the two boards agreed to the merger unanimously, there are still several hoops that remain to be jumped through. 

Specifically, according to the release, it “remains subject to customary conditions, including the approval of SouthFirst Bancshare’s Inc.’s shareholders and the required regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close no later than the second quarter of 2021.”

After the vote Tuesday evening, Jones said, “Randy and I have really gotten to know each other, and I believe this is certainly a very good merger of banks. It will benefit the employees of both banks and the customers that we are looking to acquire. 

“The combined mobile, online and ATM networks will also be a benefit. Once the transaction is complete, the names will change and SouthFirst will become First Bank, but that’s still a ways down the road. I am really looking forward to the approval, though.”