The merger between First Community and Savannah River Financial corporations was described as a “natural combination” by bank President and CEO Michael Crapps.

That merger is now complete, as First Community has acquired Savannah River in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $33.6 million. Monday was the first day of the merger.

Crapps described it as a smooth transition because the two banks already had a lot in common.

“These are two healthy, high-quality organizations coming together, which made the process a lot faster and easier,” Crapps said.

Crapps said there will not be any big shift in strategy, as both community banks separately focused on local business and professional markets.

Bringing the two banks together just made sense, due to the strikingly similar style of both companies' buildings to matching core values, Crapps said.

According to First Community Senior Vice President and Regional Market President Jeff Spears, the merger benefits the shareholders, clients and associates.

For the shareholders, the merger offers a cash dividend and enhanced liquidity, as well as a premium on the capital they invested, according to a press release.

Clients will have access to expanded services and more capacity, Spears said. Associates now have more career opportunities and more tools to work with clients, he added.

First Community Bank started in 1995 and had locations in Newberry, Kershaw, Lexington and Richland counties. With Savannah River Bank, the companies were practically neighbors, so the merger made geographical sense, too, Crapps added.

The merger was first announced in August, and clients were notified of the change. First Community Vice President and Market President Joe Lewis said they strived to keep their clients informed throughout the process and received positive feedback about the decision.

“I think they see this as an opportunity to enhance the banking experience that they already had,” Spears said.

Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010. She is a native of Rustburg, Va., and a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman's College.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct identification in the story's caption. THe Aiken Standard regrets the error.