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Braselton bank plans to acquire Jefferson State
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Forsyth County News

Hamilton State Bancshares, a Braselton-based bank holding company, has announced it will acquire Jefferson State Bank of Cumming.

The acquisition has been approved by both bank boards and now requires regulatory approval and the approval of Jefferson State Bank shareholders. The acquisition is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Robert C. Oliver, chairman and chief executive officer of Hamilton State, also serves as chairman of the board of Jefferson State Bank.

"We are excited to join Jefferson State Bank with Hamilton State Bank," Oliver said. "Since the founding of our company in 2004, we have established best practices for our operations.

"The change will allow us to combine some duplicated efforts between the companies so that we can better utilize our resources."

The agreement calls for the merger of Jefferson State Bank into Hamilton State Bank.

Jefferson State, which operates a single main office in Cumming, has $80 million in assets.

The combined companies will have about $278 million in assets, $223 million in deposits and $41 million in total capital, according to a statement released by Hamilton State.

Hamilton State Bank has two locations in Hall County: 854 Washington St., Gainesville; and 3458 Winder Highway, Oakwood. The bank expanded in 2006 through the acquisition of branches in Dacula, Hoschton and Jefferson.

Keith Morris, president of Jefferson State Bank, said the acquisition is a natural progression for the company.

"We have reached a point where we can benefit from the added operational support that Hamilton State Bank can provide, which will allow us to better serve our customers," Morris said.

Both Morris and Oliver have long-standing ties to the Gainesville banking community.

Oliver is a former executive of First National Bank and Wachovia, while Morris was with Wachovia and what is now SunTrust.