City Bank of Hartford Signs Definitive Agreement To Become Part of Friend Bank


HARTFORD – Steve Bancroft, Chairman of the Board of City Bank of Hartford, along with Hope Harris Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Friend Bank, announced today plans for Friend Bank to acquire the stock of City Bank of Hartford. As a result, Friend Bank will manage $125 million in Assets, and be well-positioned to serve their mutual customers and succeed in an evolving banking environment. The two banks signed a Definitive Agreement on July 18, 2014, initiating a regulatory approval process that, bank officials suggest, should result in the merged banks opening as Friend Bank on January 2, 2015.

“The Board of Directors and senior management of City Bank of Hartford believe that joining Friend Bank is a smart and progressive move,” Bancroft said. “It will benefit our shareholders, employees, and most importantly, our customers and community in the years ahead.” Bancroft noted that while City Bank remains financially sound and secure, new regulatory guidelines and expectations have put undue pressure on community banks across the county, “prompting banks to join together, share expertise, and spread costs.”


City Bank was founded in 1975 by Paul Kennedy, Joe Adams, Mark (Pete) Donnell, Metz Hardwick, Bill Morris and Joe Reagan.  Bancroft, Mr. Kennedy’s son-in-law, continued “City Bank has long been devoted to principles of community banking and to providing exceptional financial services to our customers. We believe locally owned and managed community banks play a vital role in the Wiregrass economy.  Friend Bank is a like-minded community bank with a long legacy of service, relationship-based banking, and community involvement.  And furthermore, Friend Bank will continue Mr. Kennedy’s commitment to our farming community.”


The Agreement also represents the work of City Bank’s former Chief Executive Officer Bill Kennedy, whose unexpected passing precluded the actual transition from the bank his father (Paul) founded into Friend Bank. Bank officials were quick to note that Bill Kennedy played a critical role in the decision process and supported the opportunity as means of best preparing for the future.


Friend Bank is a third generation family business and one of Alabama’s oldest community banks.  Friend Bank, founded as Slocomb National Bank more than a century ago, currently operates offices in Slocomb, Dothan, and Geneva. This acquisition will add offices in Hartford and Newton.  Johnson’s father, Lawrence Harris, served as bank President from 1972 until his death in 1991. “Friend Bank is the result of his vision.  And like my father and mother, I’m passionate about the communities we serve and community banking” Johnson said.  As a measure of the state’s appreciation for her father, after his death, a portion of Highway 52 was officially renamed as the Lawrence Harris Highway. In addition, the family funds an endowed scholarship at the University of Alabama in his memory. 


“I truly believe that our customers and people across the Hartford and Newton area will come to quickly embrace Friend Bank,” Bancroft said. “It is a bank that has established core values based on honesty, integrity, exceptional service and responsiveness, and the enhancement of the communities it calls home.”

Johnson noted that, aside from the regulatory approval process, much work remains to be done to ensure a seamless transition for City Bank of Hartford into Friend Bank by year-end. “Much of what we’re focusing on, by necessity, is related to computer systems and platforms,” she explained. “But this work behind the scenes, so to speak, will ensure a smooth transition for City customers into the Friend Bank family. City Bank customers will be able to continue their banking with bankers and services they know and trust.”

Bancroft added that he hopes City Bank of Hartford customers will take the time to visit Friend Bank’s website at www.friendbank.net. “By doing so, one can quickly gauge the bank’s overall attitude and dedication to customers, employees, and communities.”

“For generations, our purpose has been to help our friends and neighbors save wisely, spend prudently, and borrow cautiously”, Johnson said. “As we have grown, we have done so with a firm commitment to our culture, our traditions, and our heritage. As a result, our customers enjoy an authentic “true to you” brand of banking. We look forward to welcoming all City Bank customers into the Friend Bank family, and to exceeding their expectations.”


Mr. Steve Bancroft
Chairman of the Board
City Bank of Hartford

Ms. Hope Harris Johnson
Chairman and CEO
Friend Bank

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