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Bank of the Ozarks, C&S merger announced
No word yet how local branches will be affected
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The Dawson County branches of Community & Southern and Bank of the Ozarks, for now, will not be affected following last week's announcement that the banks are merging.

"Branches have not been evaluated for any possible consolidations," said Bank of the Ozarks Executive Vice President Susan Blair.

Bank of the Ozarks is set to acquire Community and Southern Bank's $800 million in assets, according to a statement released on Oct. 20.

The merger is expected to be completed late in the first quarter of 2016 or early in the second quarter of 2016.

No decisions have been made regarding which branches will survive the merge.

"The combined footprint of Bank of the Ozarks and Community & Southern is complementary with very little overlap," Blair said. "We are pleased to have the opportunity to offer greater convenience and access to our customers in Georgia and look forward to growing additional customers as a result of the synergies this combination brings."

Both banks have experienced great growth in recent years, coming out on top of the financial housing market spiral that caused the downfall of numerous financial institutions across the country, including two community banks with locations in Dawsonville.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Community & Southern Holdings, Inc. was established in 2010 and has completed 14 acquisitions resulting in 47 Georgia banking offices and one Jacksonville, Fla. banking office.

The company acquired the assets of the failed Appalachian Community Bank, which had two branches in Dawsonville, 2010, the same year Bank of the Ozarks took over the assets of the failing Dawsonville-based Chestatee State Bank.

The partnership with Community and Southern is the 14th acquisition for Bank of the Ozarks since March 2010 and its largest transaction to date.

George Gleason, chairman of the board and bank of the Ozarks CEO, described the combination of two powerful banks as "a hand in glove fit."

"The synergies created by our highly complementary combined network of 75 Georgia banking offices, with virtually no overlap, will give us a powerful presence in Georgia, providing customers with great access and convenience," he said. "Even more important is the depth and expertise of our two extremely talented teams of bankers.

"Our customers in Georgia and Florida will benefit from our great combined team, our expanded network of banking offices and enhanced services."

Community and Southern founder and CEO Pat Frawley will become Bank of the Ozarks' Georgia chief upon completion of the transaction.

"Our teammates have worked incredibly hard over the past six years building a quality franchise, and I am very proud of them," he said in a statement. "As a result of this transaction, our shareholders will be rewarded, and our employees, customers and communities will have enhanced opportunities available to them by being associated with the highest performing community bank in the United States."

Frawley is expected to play a major role in the successful integration and future strategic direction of the two banks' combined 75 offices and operations in Georgia.
"We are extremely optimistic about our future prospects and are eager to get underway with our new partner," he said.