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Ameris Bancorp To Buy Jacksonville-based Atlantic Coast Financial

Bill Bortzfield
Ameris Bank and its parent, Ameris Bancorp, is pictured. The bank's executive offices are in the Riverplace Tower on Jacksonville's Southbank.

Jacksonville’s banking community is about to see another consolidation. 

Ameris Bancorp has signed a deal to acquire Atlantic Coast Financial Corporation for approximately $145 million.

Ameris Bancorp, which has its executive offices in the Riverplace Tower on the Southbank of downtown Jacksonville, says once the deal is completed the total assets of the two banks will be $8.6 billion.

"We view this transaction as an extension of our plan to build scale in Northeast Florida. With a combined $1.5 billion deposits in the Jacksonville MSA, the addition of Atlantic Coast will solidify us as Northeast Florida's premier community bank,” said Edwin W. Hortman, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Ameris in a news release.

Ameris, which is headquartered in Moultrie, Ga., has been rapidly expanding its presence in Jacksonville.

It gained a foothold in the market after buying Jacksonville Bank. That deal was completed in 2016.

Atlantic Coast currently operates twelve banking locations, eight of which are located in the Jacksonville area, while Ameris has 13 Jacksonville area locations, according to its website.

Atlantic Coast’s corporate headquarters are located in the 4600 hundred block of Salisbury Rd. on Jacksonville’s Southside.

"I fully expect our stockholders and customers will be proud to join an exceptional institution in Ameris. We could not be more excited to unlock greater potential through the new resources and products we will have available," said John K. Stephens, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Coast,

Information on a possible combined headquarters location or potential name changes haven’t been announced. However, when Ameris acquired Jacksonville Bank, that name was retired.

The merger agreement has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company, with the transaction expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.