, the parent company of Ameris Bank, and Fidelity Southern Corporation, the parent company of Fidelity Bank, have jointly announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which Fidelity will merge with and into Ameris in an all-stock transaction. The combined company will have approximately $16.2 billion in assets and a branching network across four states. Seventy-two branches and $4.7 billion of deposits are located in the Atlanta MSA; 26 branches and approximately $1.8 billion of deposits are located in the Jacksonville, Fla. MSA.
Upon completion of the merger, James B. Miller Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity, will become Executive Chairman of Ameris and Ameris Bank; and H. Palmer Proctor Jr., President of Fidelity and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank, will become President of Ameris and Chief Executive Officer of Ameris Bank. Dennis J. Zember Jr. and Lawton E. Bassett III will remain Chief Executive Officer of Ameris and President of Ameris Bank, respectively. Nicole S. Stokes will continue as Chief Financial Officer of both Ameris and Ameris Bank.
"We have known Jim and Palmer for many years and have admired the exceptional community bank they have built. Fidelity Bank is the crown jewel of Atlanta and we couldn't be more excited to partner with such a fine institution," said Dennis J. Zember Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Ameris. "This partnership not only strengthens our management team, but also creates a dynamic franchise with the opportunity for quality growth for the foreseeable future."
The merger agreement has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals and the approval of the Ameris and Fidelity shareholders.