Oconee Bank Acquiring Stephens Federal

A major change is coming to the banking world in Stephens County.

A press release Thursday announced that Oconee Federal Financial Corporation had reached an agreement to acquire Stephens Federal Bank.

Oconee Federal Financial Corporation is the holding company for Oconee Federal Savings and Loan Association.

The banks expect to complete the merger later this year, said Stephens Federal Bank President Tim Ash.

“We will be operating as Oconee Federal,” said Ash.  “All offices of Stephens Federal will remain open.  We have two offices in Toccoa and the branch in Clayton.  The combined institution will be able to better serve the communities.”

Depositors and borrowers of Stephens Federal Bank will become depositors and borrowers of Oconee Federal Savings and Loan and will have the same rights and privileges as if their accounts had been established at Oconee Federal, the press release stated.

Oconee Federal Savings and Loan operates from its administrative offices in Seneca, South   Carolina with four other branches in Oconee   County, South Carolina.

Stephens Federal Bank leaders felt the move made sense after taking a lot of things into account and are looking forward to it, said Ash.

“The environment for small banks has been challenging for a number of years,” said Ash.  “In looking at potential combinations, this one makes a whole lot of sense.  Both sides were really interested in doing it because of the geographic location.  We are all contiguous.  We have a lot of similarities in our operating histories and our product lines are very similar.”

Oconee Federal Savings and Loan officials said that they look forward to welcoming Stephens Federal and its customers into the Oconee Federal family and add they are extremely excited about the merger.

Stephens Federal Bank was founded back in 1933.  As of December 31, it had about $158 million in total assets.

Oconee Federal Savings and Loan was founded in 1924.  As of December 31, it had about $360 million in total assets and capital of $75 million.

After the merger, the combined institution will have about $519 million in assets.