This article was originally published on www.timesfreepress.com.

The parent company of Millennium Bank in Chattanooga plans to acquire a century-old bank in Lake City, Florida to nearly double its size and bring its Millennium brand to northern Florida.

Millennium Bancshares Inc., announced Thursday it is buying First Columbia Bancorp Inc., the parent company of Columbia Bank, which is based in Lake City, Florida.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to expand the Millennium Bank family and share the values and principles upon which our community bank was founded,” said Mike Haskew, CEO of Millennium Bank. “After more than two decades serving the greater Chattanooga area, we look forward to enhancing the lives of people, families and businesses in Lake City, Gainesville and Ocala.”

Terms of the purchase between the two privately held banks were not disclosed. The proposed transaction will create one community bank headquartered in Chattanooga under the Millennium Bank brand.

Based on financial data at the end of last year, the combined company will have assets of approximately $411 million, deposits of $360 million and total loans of $317 million.

Columbia Bank, which was founded in 1912, operates three offices in Lake City and other branches in Gainesville and Ocala, Florida and had assets of $205.9 million at the end of 2019. Columbia is the third biggest bank in Columbia County in Northern Florida.

Millennium Bank, which began in Ooltewah in 1999 as Community Trust & Banking Co., was renamed in 2016 to Millennium Bank and expanded into downtown Chattanooga in 2017. With five offices in Hamilton County and assets of nearly $206.1 million at the end of 2019, Millennium is the sixth largest of the 28 commercial banks now operating in metropolitan Chattanooga.

Haskew said Millennium is dedicated to simplifying and personalizing the banking experience, particularly for customers making major financial decisions, like purchasing a home.

“All of our decisions are made locally, allowing us to offer an individualized banking experience that hinges on face-to-face interaction and efficiency,” Haskew said. “We look forward to mirroring the same approach to banking as we expand our network into Florida and beyond.”

Byron Defoor, the founder of Grace Healthcare in Chattanooga who acquired a majority interest in the former Community Bank & Trust in 2010 and helped recapitalize and grow the renamed Millennium Bank, is also a shareholder in Columbia Bank in Lake City and in the Bank of Commerce in Sarasota, Florida.

The proposed purchase of Columbia Bank by Millennium Bank is expected to close by June 1, pending regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions.

“This merger is an excellent fit for our customers, employees and shareholders,” Bob Cameron, president and CEO of Columbia Bank, said in a statement. “We believe this combination will better align our resources, enhance our financial strength, and expand our product offerings and technology solutions while allowing us to remain actively involved in our communities.”

Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or at 757-6340.