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Pinnacle to buy Independence bank of Georgia
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Terry C. Evans, president and CEO of Independence Bank of Georgia, will have a leadership position within Pinnacle Financial Corporation when Independence merges with Pinnacle. Evans will have the primary responsibility of overseeing the communities currently served by Independence. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Pinnacle Financial Corp., parent holding company of Pinnacle Bank, will buy Independence Bank of Georgia, which has offices in Gainesville and Braselton, for $32.8 million.

The two companies announced signing a merger agreement Friday. The purchase is a 100 percent cash transaction.

Independence, which was chartered in 2008, has $184 million in assets, $136 million in loans and $151 million in deposits.

When the transaction is completed, Pinnacle will have about $869 million in assets, $545 million in loans, and $757 million in deposits, based on financials reported as of March 31.

Pinnacle Financial Corporation is a single-bank holding company headquartered in Elberton. It received its charter in 1934. Pinnacle has 13 branch offices in Clarke, Elbert, Franklin, Hart, Jackson, Newton, Oglethorpe and Walton counties.

L. Jackson McConnell Jr., president and chief executive officer of Pinnacle, will continue in that position.

“This was a combination of two banks that really had similar philosophies,” McConnell said.

“They’ve (Independence) just a great group of people, and they’ve got a good strong track record. They’ve been a good solid community bank. It’s just a really good fit for both of us.”

Terry C. Evans, president and CEO of Independence, and Sid Chandler, a senior lending officer at Independence, will have leadership positions within Pinnacle. Their primary responsibility will be overseeing the communities currently served by Independence.

“Our partnership with Independence furthers our strategy of targeted expansion in growing markets such as suburban Atlanta and continued organic growth in our current markets,” McConnell said. “We view the acquisition of Independence as a natural complement to our current growth initiatives.”

“We’ve known the Pinnacle leadership for many years and are delighted to partner with a bank that has served its customers and communities with distinction since 1934,” Evans said.

He said Friday “look what’s happened” in Braselton, referring to the growth.

“There’s cranes, dirt-moving equipment everywhere. It’s great.”

He added, “There’s a lot going on. It’s a positive move. We’re being bought by a larger community bank.

“Pinnacle is a true community bank and decisions will continue to be made locally by bankers who have a vested interest in our customers’ businesses and communities.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed before the end of the year. Both bank boards have approved the transaction.