BVM - Nov, 2014 - page 139

Business View - November 2014 139
good news for our bank, our shareholders, our clients
and our communities.”
The bank was initially incorporated in 1999 when First
Security acted in what it viewed as a market looking
for community banking services from an entity that
was locally based, rather than headquartered far
from the East Tennessee/North Georgia environment.
More than 30 branches were opened and business
was good until the aforementioned struggles arrived –
thanks largely to a heavy lean toward real estate loans
in what became a historically bad market – complete
with scrutiny from regulators and a relegation to re-
ceivership status.
Kramer was brought on after a national CEO search
and brought with him the new collection of executives
with a stated intention to wipe the slate clean and
start anew.
“This is a turnaround,” he said. “The management
team is new, the board is new. We’ve put in place ev-
erything necessary to complete cleaning-up the asset
quality issues that were a byproduct of the economic
downturn. We’ve been engaged in raising capital, have
added new products and services, but more than any-
thing, we’ve created a culture of accountability.
“We feel all the track has now been laid, and we’re
ready to put the locomotive on it.”
Success arrived when the bank’s course was returned
to the one set by the initial mission statement.
“Part of the appeal of this market is the number of
small tomedium-sized businesses,” Kramer said. “This
region has always been a great place to do business.
Just consider operations like the Oak Ridge (National)
Laboratory, or the Volkswagen manufacturing plant or
Alstrom. We have large businesses which have helped
spin-off a great number of smaller businesses. We will
still pursue the right real estate opportunities, but we
can’t focus the whole bank on that segment. Those
days are over.”
The new FSG aims to effectively deploy capital and
make credit available to better the functioning of busi-
ness, which, in turn, helps provide a prosperous com-
munity and enhanced quality of life for locals.
“We are a bank that genuinely cares about the people
and the communities we serve,” he said. “We genu-
inely believe our bank makes a difference in the lives
of individuals, and if our communities are doing well,
our bank is doing well.”
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