Daily News: July 1, 2019

Ameris Acquires Fidelity Southern, Taps Proctor as CEO


Jacksonville, FL-based Ameris Bancorp completed the acquisition of Fidelity Southern. (Immediately following the acquisition, Fidelity’s banking subsidiary, Fidelity Bank, was merged with and into Ameris banking subsidiary, Ameris Bank, with Ameris Bank surviving the merger.

Fidelity Bank previously operated 62 branches, 46 of which were located in Georgia and 16 of which were located in Florida. Based on March 31, 2019, financial data and excluding purchase accounting adjustments, the combined bank has assets of $16.4 billion, deposits of $13.8 billion and total loans of $12.5 billion.

Dennis J. Zember Jr. has resigned from his positions as president, chief executive officer and a director of the company, and as chief executive officer and a director of Ameris Bank, citing a need to attend to family and personal matters. In connection with the consummation of the merger, H. Palmer Proctor, Jr., formerly president of Fidelity and chief executive officer of Fidelity Bank, has been named chief executive officer of the company and Ameris Bank.

Additionally, five former Fidelity directors – James B. Miller, Jr., H. Palmer Proctor, Jr., Gloria A. O’Neal, Rodney D. Bullardand Wm. Millard Choate – have been appointed to the board of directors of the company and Ameris Bank.

James B. Miller, Jr., who was appointed executive chairman in connection with the consummation of the merger, said, “We are delighted to complete this outstanding combination to create an even stronger bank that will be better positioned to serve our combined customer base and build value for our shareholders. We appreciate Dennis Zember’s many contributions to bringing our two organizations together and are confident that Palmer Proctor is more than ready to step into his new role as CEO of the combined entity.”

Stephens served as financial advisor, and Rogers & Hardin provided legal counsel to the company. Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P. served as financial advisor, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz provided legal counsel to Fidelity. FIG Partners, in addition to Sandler O’Neill, provided a fairness opinion to Fidelity.