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HOSCHTON, Ga. (May 2015) - Hamilton State Bancshares, Inc. ("Hamilton") announced today it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Highland Financial Services, Inc. ("Highland") after receiving unanimous approval from the Boards of Directors of each company. The combined subsidiary banks will operate under the name Hamilton State Bank. 

"I have known and respected Jim Powell for over 25 years, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to work with him," said Bob Oliver, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hamilton. "Highland has a proud history of community and customer service. We share a similar culture and are excited about this opportunity to expand into Marietta and Smyrna," Mr. Oliver continued. "Both banks will work closely together to ensure that the transition will be as smooth as possible for all of our customers and employees. Lending decisions will continue to be made locally, just as they always have been."

Highland is headquartered in Marietta, Georgia, with approximately $130 million in total assets and approximately $110 million in deposits. Highland also has a branch location in Smyrna, Georgia.

"Our Board of Directors went through an organized and thorough process to find the best organization in the Atlanta market to partner with and we believe that Hamilton is the best fit for both our customers and our employees," said Jim Powell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Highland. "Under Bob Oliver's leadership, Hamilton has developed an extensive suite of banking products and services, has built a strong network of service locations and has amassed a very strong capital base to support large lending relationships. I am excited about the opportunities that Hamilton provides."

Pending receipt of all necessary regulatory and Highland shareholder approvals, the transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2015. Total assets of the combined bank are expected to be over $1.8 billion, with over $1.1 billion and over $1.4 billion in expected loans and deposits, respectively.

With the addition of Highland, Hamilton will operate 28 branches throughout North Georgia. Hamilton State Bank is a full-service bank offering a variety of services to its customers from its offices in Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Cobb, Douglas, Hall, Henry, Forsyth, Jasper, Jackson and Paulding counties in Georgia. To learn more about Hamilton State Bank visit www.hamiltonstatebank.com.

Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P. served as financial advisor to Hamilton, and Alston & Bird LLP served as Hamilton's legal advisor. Banks Street Partners, LLC served as financial advisor to Highland, and Troutman Sanders LLP served as Highland's legal advisor.
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