Southern States Bancshares Inc., parent of Southern States Bank, announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement with East Alabama Financial Group, Inc., parent of Small Town Bank, under which Southern States will acquire East Alabama.

East Alabama shareholders will receive a mix of Southern States stock and cash as consideration.

The transaction has been approved by the board of directors of each company, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019, and is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval from the shareholders of East Alabama and Southern States and approval of bank regulatory authorities.

The combined company will operate under the Southern States brand and have assets in excess of $1.2 billion.

In making the announcement, Southern States President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board Steve Whatley said, “After spending time with Mr. Floyd Davis and the broader Small Town Bank organization, I am confident this merger will allow us to better serve our clients and their communities.

“The common set of principles and commitment to excellence both companies share create a powerful foundation to build a stronger institution together. Further, Small Town Bank’s strong core deposit funding and disciplined credit culture support our strategic direction.”

Floyd Davis, Sr., chairman of the Board of East Alabama, commented, “We are thrilled to partner with an organization like Southern States that shares our values and places customers’ interest first and foremost. Southern States has demonstrated its strong ability to grow and we look forward to expanding and improving our customers’ experience through this merger.”

Southern States was advised by SunTrust Robinson Humphrey as financial advisor and Jones Walker LLP is serving as legal counsel. East Alabama was advised by FIG Partners as financial advisor and Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C. is serving as legal counsel.

Southern States Bank, the subsidiary bank of Southern States Bancshares, is a full service, $927 million asset community bank headquartered in Anniston, Alabama. The bank’s primary service areas in Alabama are Calhoun, Lee, Jefferson, Talladega and Madison counties and their surrounding areas plus Muscogee, Carroll and Coweta counties in Georgia. The Bank has LPO offices in Bremen and Atlanta.

Small Town Bank, the subsidiary bank of East Alabama Financial Group, Inc., is a $241 million asset community bank headquartered in Wedowee, Alabama, engaged in personal and business banking. The bank’s primary service areas in Alabama are Randolph and Cleburne counties and Carroll and Paulding counties in Georgia.

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