First Bancshares of Stevenson, Inc. of Stevenson, AL (“FBS”) and Vantage Bancshares, Inc. of Albertville (“Vantage”) recently announced jointly the signing of a definitive agreement for a strategic merger of the two entities.

Upon closing of the transaction, the combined entity will have approximately $525 million in total assets, $315 million in total loans, $460 million in total deposits and 10 banking locations across northeast Alabama.

The joint announcement was issued by Mike Ellenburg, President and Chief Executive Officer of FBS; Jack Lovelady, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Southern State Bank (FBS’s banking subsidiary); and Lowell Galloway, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vantage.

As part of the merger, Vantage shareholders will receive cash and a special dividend. No other financial terms were disclosed.

Ellenburg, Lovelady and Galloway jointly stated, “Our respective boards and executive management teams believe the merger is in the best long-term interest of our customers, communities, employees, and shareholders. This is a great combination for individuals and businesses in the communities we serve.”

In connection with the merger, Vantage’s banking subsidiary, Vantage Bank of Alabama, will merge with and into First Southern State Bank, FBS’s banking subsidiary, and Vantage Bank of Alabama locations will operate as First Southern State Bank.

The merger agreement is subject to regulatory approvals and approval by the shareholders of Vantage. The merger is expected to close no later than the fourth quarter of 2019.

Jones Walker, LLP served as legal counsel to FBS while Porter White Capital Advisors, Inc. provided a fairness opinion to FBS’s board. Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP served as legal counsel to Vantage while DD&F Valuation Group, LLC provided a fairness opinion to Vantage’s board.

About First Southern State Bank

First Southern State Bank, the subsidiary bank of FBS, was founded in 1910 and is headquartered in Stevenson, Alabama. It is a full-service community bank and provides the latest banking solutions to businesses and individuals through 8 offices in Jackson, DeKalb and Cherokee Counties, AL. For more information, visit

About Vantage Bank of Alabama

Vantage Bank of Alabama, the subsidiary bank of Vantage, is an Albertville, AL-based communitybank serving individuals, families and businesses since 2006. Vantage Bank of Alabama provides a full suite of banking services to its communities through two offices in Albertville and Crossville, AL. For more information, visit

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