Progress Bank Joins Forces With United Community Bank

Lynn Harton, United Community and David Nast, Progress Bank
Lynn Harton, United Community and David Nast, Progress Bank

Over the last 15 years, Progress Bank has been privileged to serve our many customers across Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. At our founding in February 2007, we determined we wanted to be driven by innovation, good listeners, and uncomplicated banking from smart bankers. From the beginning, we have been committed to giving back to our community, passionate about sparking the progress of local businesses, and dedicated to being something more than just another bank—something different, better, and truly positive for everyone we serve.

Earlier this year, Progress Bank joined forces with United Community Bank. Although we may be experiencing a name change, one thing remains the same—the superior level of customer service you have come to expect from your bank. The management and banking team that you have trusted remains in place, as will our commitment to our customers.

As we look to the future, let’s take a look back at our past and see how we have grown to where we are now.

Strong Foundations

Progress Bank was formed as the only state-chartered and locally owned and managed bank in Huntsville and Decatur, Ala. The initial leadership team, with more than 120 years of combined banking experience, included three executives who remain with Progress Bank today.

In 2017, Progress merged with First Partners Bank and opened branches in Birmingham, Vestavia Hills, and Destin. After gaining experience in the Destin market, the bank opened a limited-service office in Inlet Beach in 2018.

- Sponsor -

Due to the continued success of the Florida markets, in 2019, Progress began offering mortgage services in Northwest Florida. In 2020, we expanded the Inlet Beach office and opened a new, full-service office in Santa Rosa Beach. Panama City is our most recent office addition, opening in late 2021. To aid in the growth of our loan portfolio and bridge the gap between Birmingham and Northwest Florida, a deposit and loan production office was opened in Daphne, Alabama, in 2020, later becoming a full-service office in early 2021. In late 2021, an office was opened in Tuscaloosa.

United’s history began in 1949 as Union County Bank, a place for farmers in Blairsville, Georgia, to keep their money. It was a bank with humble roots, dedicated to its community. In 1987, United Community Banks was incorporated, and Union County Bank was acquired in 1988. The bank had $42 million in assets when Jimmy Tallent became president in 1984. By 2002, United was officially listed on NASDAQ and had grown to $5 billion in assets.

Although United’s trajectory of growth was tested by the Great Recession in 2008, the strong leadership and culture of the team helped the bank emerge even stronger.

In 2010, United received its first J.D. Power award. Through 2022, the bank received this award eight more times. Since then, United has grown exponentially, while still maintaining its focus on community, culture, and “staying small.” As of December 2022, United had $24 billion in assets and nearly 200 offices in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, along with a national SBA lending franchise and a national equipment lending subsidiary.

Now, United has added customers in Alabama and Northwest Florida with the acquisition of Progress.

Looking Ahead

When our CEOs, Lynn Harton at United and David Nast at Progress, began talking about merging our two institutions, it was important to both of them that the banks have a similar history, values, culture, and vision for the future.

“David was very thoughtful about a partner for Progress,” Harton said. “We spent a lot of time building connections between our teams and are excited about what Progress is adding to make us a better company.”

David Nast, who remains president of the Alabama and Northwest Florida region, agrees. “We are all committed to our clients and making sure they have a great experience,” he said. “I’m excited to be part of growing our business.”

The latest Alabama business news delivered to your inbox