ELIZABETHTOWN — The folks at First South Bank were officially welcomed to Bladen County on Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting and open house.
Officials with First South Bank greeted visitors and dignitaries alike while they were treated to hors d’oeuvres and shrimp cocktails. Dignitaries for the ribbon-cutting included members of the Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce board, employees of First South Bank, members of the Bladen County Board of Commissioners, and members of the Elizabethtown Town Council.
“I want to officially welcome First South Bank to Elizabethtown. If there is any way we can be of help, let us know,” said Mayor Sylvia Campbell.
Chamber Executive Director Dawn Maynard gathered everyone together for the ribbon-cutting ceremony while Chamber President Charlote Smith welcomed everyone.
First Bank CEO Bruce Elder said that First South Bank’s arrival in Bladen County and Elizabethtown specifically came about as a result of First South Bank acquiring nine Bank of America branches.
“We have a phenomenal staff,” Elder said of the branch’s employees. “We are a small town, hometown, community bank.”
Elder said that First South Bank has been in existence since 1901 and added those small-town and hometown values are what define First South Bank and are how the bank wants to be seen in the community.
Elder said folks will notice more full-service banking at the branch. He said the bank offers a full range of products and services including a mobile banking app, ATM service, and online banking.
Elder said Lauryn Godwin and Afton Shaw were employees with Bank of America and have remained; Branch Manager Pam Morris grew up in Clarkton and spent time working with Bank of America and other banks before joining First South Bank and arriving at the Elizabethtown branch. City Executive Joey Schultz is a Bladen County native as well.
“The staff is excited to be here,” said Elder.
Morris also addressed those gathered at the reception.
“The reason I took this job was because of Bruce,” said Morris. She added that, after doing some research and reading the company profile online, she was convinced this is where she wanted to work.
“I thought I would be in Lumberton because it was the only opening (at that time),” said Morris.
She said when she learned she was coming to the Elizabethtown branch, she was excited.
“I’m glad to be back in town,” said Morris.
Many of those gathered offered their support to the staff.
Elizabethtown Town Councilman Darrell Page said, “We just want to welcome the new bank. We think it will be great for the community.”
—Erin Smith can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.