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Still Strong, Still Local, Still Focused on the Future

In 1927, the late D.K. Hollis, Sr. realized his dream of chartering a new financial institution. The new bank was called Citizens Bank of Hahira, with Citizens Bank of Morven a branch of the Hahira bank. A change in branch banking laws later that same year would cause Hollis to re-charter the bank as Citizens Bank of Morven. A group of Atlanta investors took over the Hahira bank, and they subsequently folded during the Great Depression while the Morven bank survived.

The newly chartered Citizens Bank of Morven had assets of $41,244 in 1927. The bank continued to prosper, and years later, Hollis, Sr. moved the headquarters from Morven back to Hahira. He managed the bank’s growth to over $1.3 million before he passed away in 1960. Little did he know that his dream in 1927 would continue to grow in financial strength and community impact into the next century.

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D.K. Hollis, Jr. was a young 23 when his father died in 1960, but he had worked in the family bank for several years, earned his business degree from the University of Georgia, and had become Mayor of Hahira.

“I was too young to even get scared,” Hollis, Jr. said about his father’s passing. He was named President of the bank when his father died and he had to place his political opportunities aside to focus on the bank that his father had started.

Since its beginnings over 80 years ago, Citizens Community Bank has grown its assets to $123 million, with two branches in Valdosta (North Valdosta Road and Baytree Road), a branch in Morven, and headquarters in Hahira. The name was changed to Citizens Community Bank in the 1980’s to reflect its growing presence within Lowndes and Brooks Counties. Executive management now consists of D.K. Hollis Jr., Chairman of the Board, Glenn Copeland, Chief Executive Officer and Tim Jones, President. A third generation Hollis, Starling H. Waldron joined the bank in 2003 as controller and has risen to be the bank’s Chief Financial Officer and Vice-Chairman of the Board.

“It has been an amazing opportunity to come back to Hahira and work with my father and get to learn the banking business directly from him. I have learned that it is not always about making a profit, but about being fair to the customer. I think every employee at our bank feels this way as well,” Waldron said. Other members of the Hollis family involved in the bank include Board of Directors Judy Hollis, David K. Hollis, III and C. Todd Hollis.

Through the years, D.K. Hollis, Jr. has attracted and groomed a talented group of people to help run the bank. Fifteen people have over ten years of employment with the bank, and one employee (Martha “Mott” York) has 52 years of service with the bank in Morven.

“This loyalty among the staff has translated into a bank that now serves five generations of customers,” said CEO Copeland. Copeland goes on to say “I came from a big bank environment where it was becoming harder to bank my customers the way they deserved to be banked. I have thoroughly enjoyed the 20 years that I have had to do business the way our true community bank operates.”

While the bank offers traditional bank accounts, ACH originations, Remote Deposit Capture, and Internet Banking as some of its products, management’s philosophy continues to place more emphasis than ever on good old-fashioned personal service. Loan requests are reviewed and approved by a local loan committee, and quick response time is a priority. Bank customer service representatives are always available for attending personally to whatever the customer requests, and they take pride in earning trust and building relationships that last a lifetime.

“In a time where most banks are distancing themselves from the customer through technology, we feel that our high touch personal service puts us a step above the rest,” said President Jones. “The bank will continue to be competitive with technology driven services, but we feel that our niche is what D.K. Hollis, Sr. started in 1927, and it is timeless: provide good customer service, products at a fair price, and always try to exceed the customer’s expectation.”

The bank also owns the Remerton Agency, Inc., d/b/a Star Insurance, a full-service insurance agency offering Property and Casualty products as well as Life insurance and Annuities.

 

 
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