In 1934, we first opened the doors as First National Bank in Orangeburg. Throughout the 85 years since our inception, South State Bank has stayed true to our values of relationship banking and commitment to our customers. It’s our dedication to these values that has enabled us to become one of the fastest-growing regional banks in the South.
While our values have remained unchanged over the past eight decades, we’ve seen a vast amount of changes in the banking industry and in our company. The timeline below demonstrates just a few of the significant milestones we’ve reached in the last 85 years.
Each of these milestones represents a huge step in our company’s history; however, none of these breakthroughs would have been possible without the dedication, determination and hard work of South State employees. We recently sat down with a few team members who have watched many of these milestones come to fruition and have played an integral role in South State’s success over the years.
Linda Martin has been with the company for 40 years. Starting her career at only 21 years old as a Portfolio Assistant, she now serves as an Office Manager in Savannah, GA. In thinking about our 85 years as a company, Linda has no doubt that our focus on our customers and our continuous investment in technology has enabled us to succeed. “Technology has changed tremendously during my 40 years here,” says Linda “and we adapt and embrace these changes, because we want to continue serving our customers to the best of our ability and helping them reach their financial goals.”
Change has not always been easy, however. Linda recalls the many changes in the financial industry during the recession from 2007 to 2009. While this was a trying time for businesses across the country, and many Americans were filled with uncertainty about their financial futures, our focus on our customers and their success remained consistent. “Over the years, we’ve continued to build relationships with new and existing customers,” says Linda. “We earn our customers’ trust by always having their best interests at heart.”
Janice Bonnett’s career at South State began 50 years ago when she applied for a job at First National Bank in Orangeburg, SC. She is now a Loan Assistant in our Orangeburg St. Matthews location, and she recalls the many changes that have occurred over the years, from launching our first ATM in 1981, to Online Banking in 2005 and our Mobile App in 2009, to when the company headquarters moved to Columbia in 2003.
One of Janice’s prior duties included manually typing and mailing loan notices to customers, so one change that stands out the most in her mind is when we transitioned to automated loan notices. “I used to have every zip code in this region memorized,” she says with a laugh. “Now, notices are sent automatically, so I don’t have to remember all of those zip codes – thank goodness!” While this improvement may seem minor to some, it made a huge impact on Janice’s job. “Technology is wonderful, and improvements in technology and South State’s adoption of these improvements have allowed us to better both customer and employee experience,” says Janice.
Janice notes that it’s been an honor to be a part of the company’s growth over the years. “When I started at First National Bank in Orangeburg, I never dreamed of staying for 50 years,” says Janice, “but I absolutely love what I do. I love my co-workers, and I love my customers, and this makes me love waking up and coming to work each morning.”
South State continues to navigate the changing landscape of financial and technology advancement to meet customer needs, offering the right combination of high-touch, personalized service and financial expertise with high-tech capabilities, enabling customers to bank on their terms. Our ability to adapt and embrace these changes is part of what has allowed us to become a bank with more than 2,600 team members who serve more than 700,000 customers across the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia.