First Chatham Bank president Brian Foster retiring [Savannah Morning News, Ga. :: ]
(Savannah Morning News (GA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 20--First Chatham Bank president and CEO Brian Foster is retiring after 45 years in banking.
Foster is stepping down in both his roles as leader of First Chatham and its parent company, FCB Financial Holdings, according to a press release.
Foster was one of the 18 people who founded First Chatham Bank on Jan. 23, 2002. It has since grown to a network of seven affiliated community banks in Chatham, Effingham, Bryan and Glynn counties.
The outgoing CEO began his career in June 1969 as a teller with C&S Bank in Athens while attending the University of Georgia, the only other financial institution where he worked prior to starting First Chatham.
"This has been my target retirement year, and I am pleased that the bank is performing so well that we can make this transition to new leadership and not miss a beat," Foster said in statement.
In a recent interview, Foster said First Chatham had continued its recovery from the financial crisis that began in 2008, posting its seventh straight quarterly profit earlier this year.
Foster said company also posted a 38 percent drop in interest expenses and a 16 percent drop in non-interest expenses due to the sale of its small business loan subsidiary, Quadrant Financial, which closed in the first quarter of 2013.
"We shrank the bank's balance sheet by $100 million, which enabled us to cut that expense by a huge amount, and at the same time we cut the overhead of owning that subsidiary," said Foster.
He said First Chatham created an internal SBA lending arm in the third quarter of last year and has had success with contracting loans to qualified businesses looking to grow or expand. The bank is projecting a profit of more than $2 million this year, on pace with 2013.
Ken Farrell, executive vice president and senior credit officer, has been selected to serve as interim CEO while a formal search is underway to find a successor to Foster.
Farrell previously served as city president for Barnett Banks in Brunswick and has more than 35 years of banking experience, according to the press release.
Benny Curl, chairman of the bank's board of directors, congratulated Foster on his retirement.
"We are appreciative of the many contributions that Brian has made to the success of FCB since its inception and wish him all the best as he moves into a well-deserved retirement," said Curl.
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