The last banking company headquartered in Cherokee County will merge with a Hoschton-based institution.
Both institutions' boards of directors recently approved the plan and the merger is set to be complete in the first quarter of 2014.
The merger is "pending receipt of all necessary regulatory and other approvals, including the approval of Cherokee Banking Company’s shareholders, and customary closing conditions," Cherokee Bank said in a press release.
Once the merger is complete, Cherokee Bank will subsequently operate as Hamilton State Bank. Hamilton will continue to operate Cherokee Bank's three branches: one in Woodstock and two in Canton.
“We are very excited about the merger with Cherokee Bank, which will provide Hamilton the opportunity to expand into a new community with a well-established and highly regarded partner,” said Bob Oliver, Hamilton State Bank’s chairman and CEO.
Cherokee Bank President and CEO Dennis Burnette added he and Oliver have "known and respected each other for many years."
"We believe this transaction presents a wonderful opportunity for our customers and our employees and we look forward to this next chapter for our bank," he added.
Burnette said there will be some consolidation in the bank's operations and financial records area, but there will be "no changes in the office managers, tellers, new accounts, lenders that deal with the public every day."
He noted the current board of directors will "remain engaged with the bank, but they will not meet as the controlling entity."
Once the merger is finalized, Hamilton will operate 27 branches in 12 Georgia counties.
Cherokee Bank currently has about $168 million in total assets and approximately $150 million in deposits.
Hamilton has agreed to pay $4.00 per share in cash for Cherokee’s 2,131,639 shares of issued and outstanding common stock.
Cherokee Bank opened in July 1999 in north Canton with eight employees and after 15 months of being in business, the bank had its first break-even month in October 2000.
The company's assets exceeded the $50 million mark within two years, $100 million within four years and passed $200 million in just seven years.
It opened its south Canton offices in January 2004 and its Woodstock office in 2007.