First MF to take reins at FNBSC

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 7, 2006

First M&F Bank of Mississippi will officially take over First National Bank of Shelby County next Tuesday.

Bank chairman and chief executive officer Hugh S. Potts Jr. spoke to a group of business leaders in Columbiana last week.

&8220;We believe the existing of a community bank makes Columbiana a better place,&8221; Potts said.

He expressed his excitement at the bank&8217;s future.

&8220;This (the purchase of FNB of Shelby County) is our first and only presence in the state of Alabama,&8221; he said, &8220;so you&8217;ll receive the full benefit. We are humbled by the opportunity we have here.&8221;

Potts introduced the leadership team for the local bank.

Randall Fields will serve as area president and CEO. He will oversee day-to-day operations of the branches in the Birmingham/Shelby County area.

Craig Nelson, who has served as interim president during the sale of the bank, will act as regional credit officer and oversee lending responsibilities in the Alabama market.

Russell Rasco has been named branch president for Columbiana.

&8220;Our message is that the decisions (about local issues) will be made by the people here,&8221; Potts said.

He said M&F Corporation, a publicly traded company, will have assets of some $1.5 billion after Feb. 17.

Potts urged those present at the chamber meeting last week to withhold judgment.

&8220;Give us the opportunity,&8221; he said. &8220;Don&8217;t judge us in advance – positively or negatively.

&8220;We&8217;re optimistic about being your neighbor.&8221;

As to his leadership team, Potts said the group is an experienced one.

Fields, a Birmingham native is a graduate of the University of Alabama where he earned his bachelor&8217;s degree in finance. He is also a graduate of the School of Banking at Louisiana State University. He and his wife, Susan, attend the Church at Brook Hills with their two daughters, Peyton and Morgan.

Nelson brings 25 years of banking experience to his position including 15 in the Birmingham area.

He is a member of Rotary International and the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce board of directors. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have one daughter, Emily Joy Nelson. They attend Christ Church United Methodist.

Rasco is a familiar face in Columbiana. A Shelby County native, he has 24 years of banking experience in town. He is a graduate of Auburn University and LSU&8217;s School of Banking. He is past president of the Columbiana Rotary Club and the PTO at Elvin Hill Elementary School.

He is also a member of the Chelsea Kiwanis Club. He and his wife, Dawn, attend Columbiana United Methodist Church. They have three daughters, Bari, Lauren and Jessica.

First M&F Corporation has its headquarters in Kosciusko, Miss