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Having A Group Of Officers And Staff With
Banking Experience In The Augusta, Georgia Area Offering Flexible And Prompt
Decision-Making Has Allowed Georgia Carolina Bancshares To Compete With
Regional – Mid-Atlantic Banks
Georgia Carolina Bancshares
3527 Wheeler Road
Augusta, GA 30909
Patrick G. Blanchard
President, CEO and Director
Interview conducted by:
Walter Banks, Publisher
Published – March 21, 2008
Patrick G. Blanchard
President, CEO and Director
Patrick G. Blanchard was first elected President and CEO of
Georgia-Carolina Bancshares, Inc. on October 8, 1997. He also serves as
Vice Chairman of the Board of its subsidiary, First Bank of Georgia.
He is a former Assistant State Treasurer of
Georgia and served as President of Georgia State Bank, Martinez, Georgia,
Georgia Bank & Trust Company of Augusta and Georgia-Carolina Bancshares,
Inc. during the previous 33 years.
He is a graduate of Georgia Southern University
where he has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Georgia
Southern University Foundation and Chairman of the Advisory Council of the
College of Business Administration.
Blanchard currently serves on the Board of
Directors of the Community Bankers Association of Georgia and has previously
served on the southeastern Board of the Bank Administration Institute and
the Board of Directors of the Georgia Bankers Association.
He is a past President of Historic Augusta,
Inc. and is a member of the Augusta Rotary Club where he was named a “Paul
Blanchard currently serves
on the Board of Directors of the Augusta Museum of History and as Chairman
of the Board of Leadership Augusta.
During 2005, he was named to the Georgia
Medical Center Authority by Governor Sonny Perdue. He was later named
Secretary & Treasurer of the Authority Board.
Mr. Blanchard has served as Chairman of the
Board of the Metro Augusta Chamber of Commerce and the Columbia County
Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Blanchard has been quoted often in many
national and regional publications such as The Wall Street Journal,
Business Week, Georgia Trend, Independent Banker,
The Atlanta Business Chronicle and The Augusta Chronicle.
He was named “1994 CEO of the Year” by The
Augusta Business Journal and was named “1995 Sponsor of the Year” by
Credit Professionals International of Georgia.
Mr. Blanchard is an honorary member of the
United States Signal Corps Regiment and holds the rank of Brevet Colonel in
the United States Signal Corps.
On June 4, 1999, Blanchard was inducted into
the Hall of Fame of the College of Business Administration of Georgia
Southern University and had also been named Alumnus of the Year by the
College of Business Administration. The office complex, which houses The
Department of Finance and Economics of the College of Business
Administration of Georgia Southern University, is named in his honor.
During March 2000, he was honored by the
International Fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi with their highest award, the
“1999 National Career Achievement Award”.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a
list of Georgia’s 100 Top Performing Companies on May 18, 2003.
Georgia-Carolina Bancshares, Inc. was listed as number 3.
In October of 2003, Blanchard became the first
inductee into the Central Savannah River Area (Augusta Regional) Business
Hall of Fame.
Blanchard was named a finalist
in the Ernest & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards honoring him and his
lifetime achievements in business during May of 2004. The Ernest & Young
Award is awarded to individuals from the southeastern United States.
On May 23, 2004, his Company was recognized
again among Georgia’s 100 Top Performing Companies. For the second year,
Georgia-Carolina Bancshares, Inc. was listed at number 3 in The Atlanta
Mr. Blanchard was named one of Georgia’s Top 25
Performing CEO’s ranked for a five-year shareholder return by The Atlanta
Business Chronicle in March of 2006 and again in 2007.
CEOCFO: Mr. Blanchard, would you give us
a little background on Georgia Carolina Bancshares?
Mr. Blanchard: “Our company is a
relatively young company. We formed Georgia Carolina Bancshares in 1997,
the company , -- is ten years old. When we were forming Georgia Carolina
Bancshares, it came about as a merger of two different groups of people, a
group of businessmen in Augusta, Georgia who were interested in chartering a
new bank, and a group of business men and women who served on the board of
McDuffie Bank and Trust. McDuffie Bank and Trust at that time was a small
community bank with assets of $38 million. They were headquartered in
Thomson Georgia which is a community approximately thirty miles from
The organization today comes from that history. We brought the groups
together in 1997, we had a public offering in 1999.After the public
offering, the company went on the bulletin board over the counter of Nasdaq,
so we have been a publicly traded company and a member under the SEC since
mid to late 1999. Today as a comparison, we are at $440 million in assets,
and we are approaching $500 million. We have built five banking facilities
primarily in the metro Augusta area. We also have added a mortgage lending
division; we refer to as First Bank Mortgage. We have mortgage-lending
offices in Augusta, Savannah, and Jacksonville, Florida.”
you grow through acquisitions, de novo or both?
Mr. Blanchard: “We have not acquired
another bank other than the bringing together of these two groups in 1997.
In addition, we have not merged with any banks, and no one has acquired us.
We have grown and made our impact on this market purely by expansion of the
bank and by branching, and choosing good markets and growing into those
mentioned choosing good markets, can the areas where you are active support
a bank and what are your target areas?
Mr. Blanchard: “We are a community bank.
We are based in Augusta; we moved the charter to Augusta after we
constructed our main office on Wheeler Road. The main office of the Bank and
Corporate headquarters are both in a four-story building that we designed
and constructed in Augusta, Georgia. We are a community bank by traditional
terms. We serve a full array of products; we also serve small to moderate
and some larger companies that are based here in the marketplace. We also
have a group of highly skilled officers with years of experience and
knowledge and through that; we have been able to grow our bank and
customers. We also have a very high quality level of customers. Based on our
knowledge and skills, we are matched-up well with these customers.”
What about the areas that you are in, what is the economy?
Mr. Blanchard: “We have our main office
and two branch offices in the city of Augusta, Georgia, which has near
200,000 plus population. It is one of the older cities in Georgia. Augusta
has a good diverse economy. We state that we do not have any highs or any
lows, we just move along on an even keel. Augusta is the world headquarters
of the Army Signal Corp, which is headquartered at Fort Gordon. We also have
a nuclear plant across the river in South Carolina that comes under the U.
S. Department of Energy. We have the Medical College of Georgia and through
that we are a medical community. We have a large number of the higher
quality industries here like John Deere. We also have developed a regional
retail center with quality shopping malls and centers. In addition to our
home base of Augusta Georgia, we are also in Columbia County, which is a
suburb of Augusta that is growing well. There are in excess of 100,000
citizens in Columbia County. We have two offices in a suburb of Augusta, in
a community called Martinez, which is a community of approximately 50,000
people. We have an office in Thomson Georgia, which is the original main
office of McDuffie Bank and Trust. McDuffie County, the base for Thomson is
around 30,000 in population .Our Georgia market that we serve with the bank
has a population base of around 330,000 people. The greater metro area is
almost half a million people. We are not only the second oldest city in
Georgia; we are the second largest by all measures.”
What sets you apart from the other banks in the area and specifically the
largest banks; how do you compete?
Mr. Blanchard: “We compete well; I have
been a CEO for over thirty years in this market. One of the ways we compete
with the larger banks is we are able to buy more modern technologies and to
utilize technologies in a much broader manner than the large banks. The
huge banks have to worry about their capital expenditures and putting
together a network of all their locations, where we can buy new technologies
and convert to new technologies overnight. We are flexible which is
something very large banks are not capable of providing. We are also prompt
in our decision-making. The larger banks have more of a format of their
decisions that they will and will not do. Generally it takes a longer than
usual time to decide what they will or will not do, so we compete very well
with the larger banks and our customers tend to have a comfort banking with
us because we are very ethical people. We are rooted here in Augusta, this
is our hometown, this is our market that we know, and most of us are natives
of the area. In addition, most of us have had our banking experience in the
area. We have a good understanding of the market and its people.”
do you grow your bank and business?
Mr. Blanchard: “We have a very
aggressive program where we call on businesses daily those that we would
like to bank and we have been very successful in bringing into our bank some
of the most successful and profitable businesses in the area. We are very
hands-on and oriented toward details, so customers can count on us even with
the smaller issues, and that is much of how we succeed. However, we have a
very aggressive program of calling on the higher quality businesses and
making them offers.“
What can you point to show that strategy has been successful and will help
you grow in the future?
Mr. Blanchard: “We grow each year
approximately 40 to 50 million in assets.. We are one of the fastest growing
banks in this market and in Georgia. Our growth numbers reflect our
What is the financial picture of the Bank and do you see a need for new
Mr. Blanchard: “We monitor our capital
adequacy each quarter. With that, we have maintained our earnings; at the
same level as our asset growth, so we have not outgrown our capital. We look
at that every quarter with the knowledge that there may be times in the
future when we will need to add new capital. We have discussed a public
offering or a private placement. There are other alternatives as well. For
the moment we are very secure in that our earnings and our accumulations of
capital has kept up with our growth in assets. We maintain a very strong
capital to asset base and we are very comfortable with our ratios.”
closing, why should investors consider Georgia Carolina at this time?
Mr. Blanchard: “Georgia is one of the
fastest growing states in the union.. We are also in the top five states of
having a strong banking system. Georgia has a great climate and a diverse
economy. We have Atlanta, nearby which is one of the most popular cities in
the world, and our State Capitol. The climates here are moderate. Here in
Augusta we affirm that we can play golf every day of the year as long as it
is not raining. It is a good lifestyle with lots of hospitality. It is a
good place to live.
When you look
at our stock or the stock of community banks, I would say first that an
investor should plan for more of a long-term approach to their investments.
The history of community bank stocks and the growth rates have been very
good in the southeast and in particular in Georgia. When it comes to
quality, we are one of the top, most effective organizations in Georgia.”
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