United Community Banks appointed Jefferson L. Harralson as executive vice president and chief financial officer of both the parent company and its banking subsidiary, United Community Bank. Harralson will report to Lynn Harton, president and chief operating officer, and will assume the duties previously held by Rex Schuette, who has served in the role of chief financial officer for the past 16 years and has retired.

Harralson joins United from Keefe, Bruyette and Woods (KBW), where he was a managing director. He joined KBW as vice president in 2002, and was charged with rebuilding the firm’s Southeastern Bank Research effort after the events of September 11, 2001. He has led KBW’s small and midsized bank research team, and most recently, was associate director of research for the entire firm. Harralson has spent his career focused on the banking industry, particularly small and midsized banks.

“We are pleased to welcome Jefferson to United,” said Jimmy C. Tallent, chairman and chief executive officer of United. “Jefferson’s appointment follows an extensive national search for a well-suited executive to oversee the company’s financial operations. Jefferson will play a key role in the development and execution of United’s financial strategies during a period of significant growth. He is an experienced financial leader whose knowledge of the banking industry will be invaluable as we execute our business strategy over the next several years.”

“Jefferson has a deep understanding of our markets and the expectations of our investors,” said Lynn Harton. “His career has been focused on evaluating the strategies, strengths, and weaknesses of individual banks and we are excited to add his talent and experience to the United team. Additionally, Jefferson is a great fit for our company and our unique service culture.”