RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 22, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- First Citizens Bank announced today the appointment of James Bennett as executive director of External Affairs.
In this newly created position, Bennett, a seasoned First Citizens banker, is now responsible for nationwide community engagement as well as strengthening relationships with state and federal government officials, members of Congress, trade groups and other public policy stakeholders. His new position was effective Jan. 1, 2024. He reports to Chairman and CEO Frank B. Holding, Jr.
"We are glad to have James' leadership in this significant, new role at our organization," Holding said. "As First Citizens continues to grow, it's important that we remain a valuable partner to policy and regulatory leaders as part of our ongoing work together to ensure the strength and effectiveness of the U.S. banking system. James brings a wealth of relevant experience to this position, as well as a deep knowledge of our company, its values and people."
From 2015 to 2023, Bennett served as Mid-South area executive at First Citizens, overseeing commercial, business and retail banking efforts, and leading market development efforts in the Columbia and Aiken areas of South Carolina and the Augusta area of Georgia.
Prior to his duties as Mid-South area executive, from 2002 to 2015, Bennett was executive vice president and director of public affairs for First Citizens Bank – South Carolina, before its merger with North Carolina-headquartered First Citizens Bank.
In 2000, Bennett was named chief executive officer at South Carolina Community Bank (now Optus Bank), South Carolina's first black-owned financial institution, and spent two years at the Columbia bank before returning to First Citizens. Prior to this, he joined First Citizens – South Carolina in December 1994 as director of community banking, then moving to the professional banking group and then becoming director of economic development.
In addition to working closely with elected officials and the South Carolina Bankers Association, he was appointed by the governor of South Carolina to serve on multiple committees, including the S.C. State Ports Authority, the Education Oversight Committee and the accelerateSC initiative in 2020-21. He served as the first African American chairman of the South Carolina Bankers Association in 2020 and was named United Way of the Midlands Humanitarian of the Year in 2022.
Bennett grew up in Cheraw, S.C., and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, where he is currently chair of its Educational Foundation. He will remain based in Columbia.
Kevin Lindler, a former regional banking executive for First Citizens in Columbia, has assumed Bennett's prior role as Mid-South area executive.
About First Citizens Bank
First Citizens Bank helps personal, business, commercial and wealth clients build financial strength that lasts. Headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., First Citizens has built a unique legacy of strength, stability and long-term thinking that has spanned generations. First Citizens offers an array of general banking services including a network of more than 500 branches and offices in 30 states; commercial banking expertise delivering best-in-class lending, leasing and other financial services coast to coast; innovation banking serving businesses at every stage; and a nationwide direct bank. Parent company First Citizens BancShares, Inc. (NASDAQ: FCNCA) is a top 20 U.S. financial institution with more than $200 billion in assets. Discover more at firstcitizens.com.
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