Colony Bank has opened a Small Business Specialty Lending Group focusing on Small Business Administration (SBA) lending and other government guaranteed loans. The newly created division will be based in metro Atlanta and will be led by two veteran bankers.

Darren Davis will join Colony and serve as president of the new Small Business Specialty Lending Group, and Stephen T. Kruto will join Colony as director of Operations of the new unit.

“I am excited to expand Colony’s focus on SBA and other government guaranteed loans through our new Small Business Specialty Lending Group. We expect the new business unit to expand our participation in government guaranteed loans, build total loan volume and grow fee income. The addition of Darren and Steve adds a great deal of experience in the SBA industry, which we expect to use throughout the bank’s footprint and into new markets to generate higher loan production and assist more clients in financing their dreams,” said Heath Fountain, president and chief executive officer.

Davis most recently served as executive vice president – SBA department manager at Atlanta-based Fidelity Bank (now Ameris Bank), where he set loan closing and profitability records for the division by increasing loan closings by 72%, increasing net income by 96% and improving processes and efficiencies through leveraging technology. He joined Fidelity in 2009 as vice president – business development officer. Davis’ 20-year career also included serving at another Georgia bank, High Trust Bank, as senior vice president – Small Business Lending division manager, as well as various positions of increasing responsibility at various financial institutions.

Kruto also comes from Fidelity Bank, where he served as senior vice president and operations manager since 2014, managing a government guaranteed lending team supporting loan origination, processing, closing and servicing for a portfolio in excess of $500 million, consisting primarily of SBA and USDA business and industry loans. Prior to joining Fidelity Bank, he held various positions with financial institutions in the Chicago area, including vice president and integration manager for JPMorgan Chase, as well as manager – Treasury and Cash Operations for Security Link from Ameritech,

Founded in 1975 and headquartered in Fitzgerald, GA, Colony operates 29 full-service branches throughout Central, Southern and Coastal Georgia.