Chatsworth, Ga., August 2, 2021 – The First Chatsworth Bankshares, Inc. merger with Heritage First Bancshares, Inc., parent company of Heritage First Bank and First National Community Bank was finalized on July 1, 2021. In connection with the closing of the merger, the Bank welcomed a seasoned executive team that brings over 150 years of combined community banking experience to northwest Georgia which will complement its progress to date and future growth initiatives.

Ryan P. Earnest has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of First Chatsworth Bankshares Inc. and First National Community Bank. He joined the organizing staff of Heritage First Bank in October 2002 as a lender and in 2005 assumed the role of Senior Vice President and Senior Lending Officer until being elected as the Heritage First Bank’s President in May of 2008.  In December of 2017, Mr. Earnest was named as the Bank's Chief Executive Officer and in March of 2019, he was named Chief Executive Officer of Heritage First Bancshares, Inc. He assumed the role as President and Chief Executive Officer of First Chatsworth Bankshares Inc. and First National Community Bank, effective July 1, 2021.

Chuck Thornton has been named Chief Operating Officer. Prior to being named First National Bank’s Chief Operating Officer, he served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer for Heritage First Bank. He joined Heritage First Bank in September of 2015 and has also served as the Bank’s Executive Vice President and Corporate Secretary.

Brian Abercrombie has been named Chief Financial Officer. During his tenure with First National Community Bank, Brian has held the positions of Treasurer, Director of Finance, Controller, Chief Accounting Officer, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer with the organization.

Vicki Knight has been named Chief Risk Officer. She joined the staff of Heritage First Bank in 2005 as Compliance Officer. During her tenure there she also served as Retail Lending Manager and Human Resources Director. In 2014, she was named Chief Risk Officer. She continues to serve as the bank’s Compliance Officer, Bank Secrecy Act Officer and Community Reinvestment Act Officer.

Eric Shields has been named Chief Credit Officer for the newly-formed company, continuing his present role within the First National Community Bank environment. Additionally, he has served in key leadership roles within the areas of Credit and Loan Administration.

Michael Baker has been named Chief Banking Officer & Rome Market President to round out the First National Community Bank executive team. Baker is a veteran community banker, beginning his banking career in 1983. He moved to Rome, Georgia in 1986 and has served in various key leadership roles, including CEO, Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer for several Georgia-based community banks. 

Legacy Heritage First Bank Directors Kenneth F. Davis, M.D., Andrew C. Heaner, Thad W. Watters and Ryan P. Earnest, joined by legacy First National Community Bank Directors John Waters, Calvin Evans, Steve Fehlenberg, Don Leeper, Brock Matter, Bruce Thompson and Brian Abercrombie have been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Bank with John Waters serving as Chairman. Legacy Heritage First Bancshares, Inc. Directors, Kenneth F. Davis, M.D., Helmut H. Cawthon, Kimberly G. Mauer and Ryan P. Earnest, together with legacy First Chatsworth Bankshares, Inc.

Directors John Waters, Lamar Dunn, Steve Fehlenberg, Roland Harbin, Don Leeper, Joey Lents and Brian Abercrombie  will assume similar roles on the Board of Directors of the Bank’s Holding Company, First Chatsworth Bankshares Inc. with Kenneth F. Davis, M.D. serving as Chairman of the Holding Company Board.

“I am honored to serve alongside this talented team of seasoned and esteemed banking professionals in the role they play in delivering exceptional care and service to our valued customers. These individuals have all demonstrated a strong commitment to our customers, their positions and this organization overall. I appreciate their dedication, hard work and loyalty. I look forward to our collective contributions in bringing the Bank’s future growth to fruition,” said President and Chief Executive Officer, Ryan P. Earnest.

About First Chatsworth Bankshares Inc.

The Bank operates 10 full-service banking offices in Adairsville, Calhoun, Cartersville, Chatsworth, Dalton (2 banking office locations), Eton and Rome (3 legacy Heritage First Bank banking office locations), a mortgage loan production office in Dalton and commercial loan production offices in Paulding County, Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee. For more information, visit making and exceeds expectations customer service in the communities we serve. First National Community Bank is a locally owned community bank with all branches located within a contiguous footprint throughout northwest Georgia with local decision Founded in 1975, First National Community Bank, the wholly-owned subsidiary of First Chatsworth Bankshares, Inc., has approximately $575 million in total assets and $500 million in total deposits.