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Foster to retire as banks leader
0624 Brian Foster
Brian Foster

FCB Financial Holdings, Inc., parent of First Chatham Bank, has announced the retirement of Brian Foster as president and CEO of both the holding company and bank.

Foster was a member of the original 18 local organizers who founded First Chatham Bank on January 23, 2002, creating a locally owned and controlled community bank that has grown into a network of banks in Chatham, Effingham, Bryan, and Glynn counties. FCB has four local branches in Chatham County, Richmond Hill Bank in Bryan County, First Effingham Bank located in Rincon, and First Glynn Bank located in Brunswick.

Foster began his career in June 1969, as a teller with C&S Bank in Athens while attending the University of Georgia. This June marks his 45th year in banking.

“I have enjoyed a remarkable career in banking and have only worked for two banks during that time — C&S and its successors and FCB,” he said. “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.”

“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 Benny Curl, chairman of the bank’s board of directors.

Added Steve Green, chairman of FCB Financial Holdings, Inc.: “It is a bittersweet moment for the bank. We are all happy for Brian to enjoy the rest and relaxation that he deserves but regret to see him leave the institution that he helped found, grow and successfully guide through a long recession and a return to prosperity.”

First Chatham Bank, like all community banks, has faced a myriad number of challenges during the recent economic recession that has seen more than 90 community banks in Georgia fail. However, after a successful capital raise last year, FCB has seen a dramatic turnaround posting a profit of over $2 million in 2013.

This year, the bank is again ahead of its projections on its way to another successful year with a profit of over $2 million expected. After the Coastal Bank sale is finalized later this year, First Chatham Bank and Carver State Bank will be the only two locally-owned and headquartered community banks in Savannah.

The boards of the holding company and bank have elected Ken Farrell, executive vice-president and senior credit officer of FCB, to serve as the interim president and CEO while a formal search is undertaken to identify Foster’s ultimate successor.

In a joint statement, the bank’s board of directors said, “We are fortunate to have someone of Ken Farrell’s character and ability in the bank who can step forward and provide the leadership necessary to sustain our success and momentum during the search process. We are doubly blessed that Brian has agreed to continue to work with the board and management throughout this transition period.”

Farrell brings more than 35 years of banking experience to the job and has previously served as the city president for Barnett Banks in Brunswick.

“I am honored that the board has entrusted me with the leadership of the bank as we continue to implement our long term financial plan to strengthen shareholder value at FCB,” Farrell said.