First Reliance Bank Adds Another Industry Veteran To Bank Leadership

Justin Strickland

Justin Strickland

New Senior Leader to Facilitate Additional Growth

January 26, 2021, Florence, S.C. — First Reliance Bank has hired longtime banking industry executive F. Justin Strickland to serve as President of First Reliance Bank as it continues to expand its presence throughout North and South Carolina. The bank has recently invested heavily in tenured leadership who have spent their careers in the Carolinas and have built reputations as leaders in the industry.

Mr. Strickland will serve as President of First Reliance Bank, where he will oversee the bank's commercial platform. The latest executive hire in CEO Rick Saunders’ growth strategy, Strickland joins a robust leadership team that is dedicated to further positioning First Reliance Bank for transformational growth.

Rick Saunders, CEO of First Reliance Bank, said the following regarding the new hire, “Justin’s expertise, industry knowledge and reputation as a commercial banker are unparalleled. As the last hire in our long term growth strategy, Justin will not only help our team accelerate the bank’s growth while continuing to emphasize the high level of customer service and attention that has allowed us to be successful thus far, but will be part of allowing First Reliance Bank to become a legacy business that is sustainable long into the future. I am excited to welcome Justin on board and look forward to his success.”

Strickland, a Walterboro native, has worked in the banking industry in South Carolina since 1985. He first began his career with C&S National Bank and quickly rose to become Midlands Market President for Carolina First Bank. Most recently he was with Southern First Bank where he served as President since 2006.

Strickland also serves in leadership roles on several regional and statewide boards in South Carolina, including as Committee Chairman of the Board of Financial Institutions and on the Executive Committee of the Lexington Medical Foundation. His past civic experience includes Chairman of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Palmetto Health Foundation and as a member of the South Carolina Bankers Association.

First Reliance Bancshares, Inc. (OTC:FSRL), the holding company for First Reliance Bank, reported record net income and earnings in the 3rd Quarter 2020. “Our record performance this last year is based upon conservative fiscal strategy and a continued commitment to our customers,” Saunders added. “We will work to provide more offerings to our customers through unmatched customer service and across new markets. This is our recipe for success and growth across both South and North Carolina.”


Founded in 1999, First Reliance Bancshares, Inc. (OTC: FSRL.OB), is based in Florence, South Carolina and has assets of approximately $785 million. The Company employs more than 170 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 90% customer satisfaction rating well above the bank industry average of 81%. First Reliance is also one of three companies throughout South Carolina to receive the Best Places To Work in South Carolina award all 14 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 web site at

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