GREENVILLE, S.C., July 02, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- United Community Banks, Inc. (NASDAQ:UCBI) (“United”) announced today that H. Lynn Harton has assumed the role of United’s CEO, succeeding longtime company leader Jimmy Tallent. In addition to this new role, Harton continues as President and CEO of United’s subsidiary, United Community Bank. United also announced that Tallent has moved into his new role as Executive Chairman of United’s Board of Directors.

Harton has been one of the key architects of the company’s strategic vision since joining as Chief Operating Officer in 2012. He intends no major shifts to the company’s current strategic plan, which has the company well-positioned to succeed with industry-leading customer service, a strong credit culture, and an experienced team of bankers.

“I would like to thank Jimmy Tallent for his many years of leadership at United.  When I joined the company, we had several key strengths including a talented employee base and a reputation for customer service,” said Harton. “Since 2012, we reorganized credit, streamlined the organizational structure and invested in new lines of business. We knew that these efforts would not only grow revenues and profitability, but also provide us with the opportunity to expand via mergers and acquisitions -- which has in fact happened.”

Since Harton joined the company, United has completed seven key acquisitions, and the company has grown from $7 billion in total assets and 100 offices, to $12.3 billion in assets and 151 offices throughout five states. During this period, the company’s performance has also improved significantly, with the most recent quarter reflecting a record operating ROA of 1.33%. Harton steps into the CEO role at a time when the industry has great momentum, including record returns, rising interest rates, and strong economic growth.

“I firmly believe our best days are ahead,” said Harton. “This is an exciting time to be in the banking business, and our entire team is committed to succeeding over the long term. We will continue to focus on expanding our product set and geographic coverage via talent acquisition and M&A, improving self-service options for our customers, maintaining our strong credit and risk management processes, and continuing to nurture and grow a great employee culture.”

Harton was named CEO of United Community Bank in August 2017 and was elected to the Board of Directors in February 2015.  Prior to joining United, Harton served in executive capacities with various financial institutions including South Financial Group, Regions Financial Corporation and BB&T.

Over the years, United has consistently been praised for its high quality of customer service, and was recently recognized in the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study as having the highest customer satisfaction score in the Southeast for the fifth year in a row.

“I have long admired Lynn’s leadership style and genuinely feel that he is right person to lead the company as the industry evolves to meet increasing customer needs for convenience and technology,” said Tallent. “I am confident and excited about where we are as a company today, and where we will go under Lynn’s vision.”

About United Community Banks, Inc.

United Community Banks, Inc. (NASDAQ:UCBI) is a bank holding company based in Blairsville, Georgia with $12.3 billion in assets. The company's banking subsidiary, United Community Bank, is one of the Southeast region's largest full-service banks, operating 151 offices in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.  The bank specializes in personalized community banking services for individuals, small businesses and corporations. Services include a full range of consumer and commercial banking products including mortgage, advisory and treasury management. Respected national research firms consistently recognize United Community Bank for outstanding customer service. For the last five years, J.D. Power has ranked United Community Bank first in customer satisfaction in the Southeast. In 2018, for the fifth consecutive year, Forbes magazine included United on its list of the 100 Best Banks in America. Additional information about the company and the Bank's full range of products and services can be found at www.ucbi.com.

For more information:
Jefferson Harralson
Chief Financial Officer
(864) 240-6208
Jefferson_Harralson@ucbi.com

Media Contact:
Emily Moseley
864-248-4290
Emily@CrawfordStrategy.com