Greenville-based Southern First Bank opens Atlanta branch

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Art Seaver, CEO of Southern First Bank. Photo by Will Crooks

Greenville-based Southern First Bank has expanded into a third state by launching a branch in Atlanta.

The bank, which has about 200 employees, began doing business outside of South Carolina for the first time last year by opening a branch in Raleigh.

Art Seaver, chief executive officer, said the new Atlanta branch is currently operating in a temporary space while preparing a permanent location in a renovated building in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.

Seaver said Southern First’s latest expansion is occurring the same way as past expansions: through the recruitment of veteran bankers who know their markets well and can bring longtime clients with them.

“We’re not going for the whole market, right?” Seaver said. “We’re going for the clientele that our bank team has always known, generally, in Buckhead.”

Leading Southern First’s four-banker team in Atlanta is Sandy Bowen, a Buckhead native who formerly worked for Atlanta-based Atlantic Capital Bank, Seaver said.

In South Carolina, Southern First operates branches in Greenville, Greer, Columbia, Lexington, Cayce, Charleston, and Mount Pleasant.

Seaver and investors founded the bank in 2000 with $11.5 million.

He said the shareholders’ original cost basis was $4.50 a share.

On Monday, Southern First shares were priced on the Nasdaq exchange at $36.85 apiece.

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