First Community Bank was founded in 1995, when banks everywhere were consolidating. Financial institutions that had existed for decades, providing personal service to individuals in small communities across the Midlands, were being gobbled up by regional banks with an eye on expansion. What was lost in these mergers was a concern for the local community, a niche we knew we could fill.
Mike Crapps, president and CEO of First Community, along with Jim Leventis, chairman of the board, took a unique approach in developing the First Community model. One of the first steps was the formation of community councils for Lexington and Forest Acres, the bank’s initial markets. Lexington was home to families with young children and little time. Fifteen miles away, Forest Acres boasted a more mature population with a keen interest in financial matters. Products were designed to cater to both of these demographics.
Three more branches opened in the two years that followed, and differences in those communities surfaced, as well. Irmo was a new and evolving town, filled with young families and fewer small businesses, but with a high demand for convenience. Cayce-West Columbia was steeped in tradition and the small businesses there felt forgotten by the big banks.
First Community entered the Gilbert market as the only bank in the community and residents became proud to have a financial institution they could call their own. Over 800 people showed up for the grand opening celebration.
Jumpstarting our success in 2001 was the completion of our first acquisition. On February 9, 2001, we acquired the Chapin office of Newberry Federal Savings Bank, with an exceptional staff and $13.2 million in deposits.
In April of 2004, we entered the fast-growing Northeast Columbia market with an office near the intersection of Two Notch Road and Polo Road.
We completed a merger with Newberry Federal Savings Bank in October of 2004. With this merger, the bank added locations in Newberry County. Our Red Bank office opened in early 2005. Then in 2006, we joined forces with the Bank of Camden and were pleased to maintain an office in its quaint, colorful downtown.
In October of 2008, we were honored that The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce named us as one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina.
Also in 2008, we expanded our investment services with the launch of First Community Financial Consultants. This enhanced division provides our customers with a more holistic approach to financial planning by focusing on the key areas such as Cash Management, Risk Management, Investment Planning, Tax Planning, Retirement and Estate Planning.
Today that is our legacy. With eleven locations sprinkled throughout central South Carolina, First Community Bank has truly assumed the position of the premier community bank of the Midlands.