Leaders of First National Community Bank in Chatsworth and Heritage First Bank in Rome revealed plans late Tuesday for a strategic partnership through an all-stock merger.

The merger will result in a bank with $500 million in assets, $445 million in deposits, 100 employees and 10 branches across Murray, Whitfield, Gordon, Floyd and Bartow counties with loan production offices in Paulding County, Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Calhoun’s FNCB branch is located at 1300 Lovers Lane Road next to Cracker Barrel.

“We are incredibly excited about this partnership, which combines two community banks in northwest Georgia, geographically connected, expanding the footprint for the customers of each bank,” said Johnny Waters, FNCB’s chairman in a press release. “We also look forward to delivering significant long-term value for our combined shareholders as a result of this transaction.”

Once regulatory approval is gained, the combined bank will operate under the First National Community Bank banner.

Dr. Ken Davis, chairman of Heritage First, said, “This strategic business combination represents a significant milestone in our institution’s strategic planning initiatives and we are excited for the long-term value and opportunity this transaction creates for our shareholders.”

Heritage First President and CEO Ryan Earnest, who will assume both of those roles in the combined company, said he was enthusiastic about the opportunities that will be generated through this partnership.

“Our cultures, core values, and strategic visions align very well with each other, and we collectively remain extremely committed to the respective communities we serve,” Earnest said in the press release.

Brian Abercrombie, FNCB’s CFO, will continue to serve in that role for the combined organization and Chuck Thornton, Heritage First’s CFO, will serve as the chief operating officer for the combined bank.

The merger is not expected to close until the third quarter of 2021. Heritage First stockholders still have to approve the deal along with federal and state regulatory authorities as well.

First National Community Bank has been in a growth mode over the last couple of years, taking over the former Adairsville-based Northside Bank which also had offices in Calhoun and Cartersville.

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