First Reliance Bank continues to expand their services beyond banking through supporting and serving the communities they work in. Particularly, the bank has served the Pee Dee Area Boys and Girls Club for more than two decades to help the community program and others like it flourish.
Tom Ewart, First Reliance Bank’s market president, has volunteered with Boys and Girls Clubs across the state for more than 32 years, including serving on the board for the Boys and Girls Club Pee Dee Area for 27 years.
“The Boys and Girls Club stands out among the many organizations that help young people from a fragile age,” said Ewart. “When kids come to the club, they are anywhere from five to 15 years old. It becomes a safe haven for them to learn about education, values and patriotism.”
Since Ewart started working at First Reliance Bank 19 years ago, the company has supported his efforts in community outreach. The community bank has sponsored events, provided meals for staff and given gifts to the children in the program. The bank also manages the cash flow of annual grants that are given to the program, helping the program’s budget to increase from $150,000 to $2.7 million over recent years.
With the help of Ewart and the First Reliance Team, the funding increase has provided additional opportunities. The number of youths served has increased from 300 kids to 4,000 and the daily attendance of children went from 60 to over 650 a day. As well as new grants for tutoring, abstinence, workforce development & training and food programs.
In addition to their serving with the Boys and Girls Club, the community bank hosts four annual community events including the Carolina Classic, Steak and Burger Event, Champion for the Youth and One Campaign as well as participating in more than 1,500 volunteer hours each year. The bank also contributes about $30 million to their local economies through salaries, interest paid on deposits and the products and services they purchase.
“Since the beginning, our company has given 1% of our net income to support education, nonprofits and the arts and culture in the community we serve,” Ewart said. “I don’t know many community or even large regional banks who are doing that. I think that speaks volumes for our company and I am proud of that.”
ABOUT FIRST RELIANCE BANK
Founded in 1999, First Reliance Bancshares, Inc. (OTC: FSRL.OB), is based in Florence, South Carolina and has assets of approximately $875 million. The company employs more than 190 professionals and has locations throughout South Carolina and central North Carolina. First Reliance has redefined community banking with a commitment to making customers’ lives better, its founding principle. Customers of the company have given it a 93% customer satisfaction rating well above the bank industry average of 81%. First Reliance is also one of two companies throughout South Carolina to receive the Best Places to Work in South Carolina award all 16 years since the program began. We believe that this recognition confirms that our associates are engaged and committed to our brand and the communities we serve. In addition to offering a full range of personalized community banking products and services for individuals, small businesses and corporations, First Reliance offers two unique community-customers programs, which include: Hometown Heroes, a package of benefits for those serving our communities and Check N Save, an outreach program for the unbanked or under-banked. We also offer a full suite of digital banking services, a Customer Service Guaranty, a Mortgage Service Guaranty, and are open on most traditional holidays.
Additional information about the Company is available on the Company’s website at www.firstreliance.com.