First Reliance Bank Welcomes Octavia Williams-Blake to Board of Directors

Octavia Williams-Blake

Octavia Williams-Blake

First Reliance Bank announced today the appointment of Octavia Williams-Blake to its Board of Directors beginning in June.

“Octavia’s experience and passion aligns with our number one focus – keeping the communities we serve at the forefront of everything we do,” said Rick Saunders, CEO of First Reliance Bank. “She has spent her career focused on improving the lives of our neighbors in Florence and we’re thrilled to have her expertise guide our work.”

Williams-Blake is a well-known community leader in Florence. She served three terms as an at-large City Council member in Florence from 2008-2020 and was the first African American elected at large and the first female elected since 1953. She also served as president of the Municipal Association of South Carolina from 2018-2019.

For nearly two decades she has worked at McLeod Health, the healthcare system that services more than one million people from the Midlands to the coast. There, she serves as vice president of workplace health and safety where she focuses on occupational and employee health, workers compensation, population health management and employee relations.

“Her experience gained from working as Human Resource Management for large corporations such as Sony Electronics, Pepsi Bottling Group and McLeod Health will be beneficial to First Reliance Bank as we execute on our growth strategy around the Carolinas. We know she’ll add that strength and leadership on our board,” Saunders said.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in public affairs at Columbia College and her Doctor of Law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She is a Liberty Fellowship Class of 2011 Fellow.

Founded in 1999, First Reliance Bancshares, Inc. (OTC: FSRL.OB), is based in Florence, South Carolina and has assets of approximately $775 million. The Company employs more than 189 professionals and has locations throughout South Carolina and central North Carolina.

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 three companies throughout South Carolina to receive the Best Places To Work in South Carolina award all 15 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


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