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Date set for Citizens First name change

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The downtown headquarters branch of Citizens First Bank, at 701 Broad St. Citizens First will drop that name in May 2018 and become Synovus Bank. (Doug Walker, RN-T)

A change that has been percolating for several years will take place May 1, 2018. That’s when Citizens First Bank, 701 Broad St. and 800 Shorter Ave., will take the name of its parent corporation, Synovus and drop Citizens First.

Northwest Georgia President Scott Preston said that Synovus will start marking the change across its entire network of banks early in January. “For the Northwest Georgia group, those will be in May,” Preston said.

The Northwest Georgia group includes Georgia Bank & Trust in Calhoun and Cartersville, Cohutta Banking Company in Dalton, LaFayette and Chickamauga and Citizens First in Rome. “We’ve got eight branches across Northwest Georgia and about a billion in assets,” Preston said.

“Years ago they were all individually chartered until about seven years ago, so this has been planned for some time,” Preston said. “(Synovus) brand recognition is not what it probably ought to be with all of our banks having different names, so it’s just the right time.”

Preston did say that plans associated with the official name change include lobby displays of the original bank charters within each of the bank branches. “That would honor and recognize the past,” Preston said. “We’ll all have the same people, same phone numbers.”

Citizens First started out at Citizens Federal Savings and Loan Association in 1911 and converted to a state chartered bank in 1992 around the time it became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial. It gave up its state charter in 2010 when Synovus consolidated all of its banks under the Synovus charter but continued to operate as Citizens First.

Its headquarters bank at 701 Broad St. opened in the early 1970s.