Lynn Harton, who led the Greenville regional office of United Community Bank, is now the bank’s chief executive officer.
He assumes the role from Jimmy Talent who will remain the CEO of United Community Banks Inc., the parent company of United Community Bank. Harton will continue as the president of United Community Bank Inc.
Harton said the biggest change will be his oversight of the bank’s risk organization. He added the transition is part of a plan that has been in place since he joined the bank in 2012. Prior to joining UCB, Harton worked for TD Bank, The South Financial Group, Regions Financial Corp., United Planters Corp. and Branch Banking and Trust Co.
“We crafted this strategy, and we continue to enhance it each year, and I hope our employees feel no difference because they will feel confident and free to do their job without any major changes coming from the top,” Harton said.
He said plans for the bank include organic growth of $500 million in loans and deposits each year along with $1 billion to $1.5 billion in mergers with community banks.
“We always have a lot of conversations but it is a tough operating environment for community banks because of regulations and margins,” Harton said. “With that kind of environment, there are a lot of community banks that want to find a partnership that will allow them to keep that community bank atmosphere, and we think we do that better than anyone else.”
United Community Bank is the 10th-largest bank in South Carolina by market share, according to the latest data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
During the second quarter, United Community Bank acquired Horry County State Bank and North Carolina-based Four Oaks Bank and Trust Co. The acquisitions will close in the third and fourth quarters respectively.
United Community Banks Inc. is based in Blairsville, Ga. The company’s banking subsidiary, United Community Bank, operates 142 offices in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.