Ten years strong, and Peach State Bank & Trust President Ron Quinn says the institution’s success is the community’s success. The loyalty of locals during hard times saw the bank through a recession that sank others left and right.
The tall, brick building on Washington Street opened its doors April 27, 2005, following a record-breaking stock sale. Quinn calls it one of his “aha” moments.
“When we got our charter approved, we had to put out a prospectus for our stock offering,” Quinn said. “We wanted to have a 30-day window to sell our stocks. The attorneys said ‘There’s no way. You need more time than that to sell your stock.’”
Peach State reached its goal of $12 million of initial stock offering in 10 days.
“At the time, that was a record in Georgia,” Quinn said. “We knew we were doing something right when the community got behind us like that.”
Even when tough times came, the community stood with them.
“We got hit the worst in 2009, and we suffered just like the community did and had some major losses,” Quinn said. In 2011, the institution’s board of directors made the decision to try and raise additional capital. At the time, Quinn said, banks were “going out and getting institutional investors, big companies in New York to put money in their banks. We chose not to do that.”
The board wanted investments to come from “the people who lived and worked in Hall County. So, we went out into our community and told them our story.”
With community backing, Peach State raised $4.7 million. By 2012, Peach State was “making money again,” surpassing yearly projections. It has continued to do so ever since.
Customer Jeff McIntyre, a local radiologist, says the financial institution is successful because “it was started by bankers who wanted to do things the right way.”
“These are professionals who said ‘we can do it better,’ and they did,” McIntyre said.
Danny Dunagan, mayor of Gainesville and a Peach State customer, agreed.
“It’s like banking in the good, old days,” Dunagan said. “The level of service there is outstanding. It’s very nice to have a hometown bank with hometown people running it.”
Most of those employed at Peach State have been there since the start.
“We’ve got a dedicated staff that even through tough times — instead of going somewhere else and trying to find an industry that was moving and growing — they stuck it out with us,” Quinn said, adding that he recently had 10 employees celebrate their 10th anniversary with Peach State at the same time as the institution’s 10-year anniversary.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have committed people. When times were tough and people were losing their houses and jobs, our people would come in and smile and do the best they could to help our customers ... And to this day, that’s what we do.”