An Inside Look at Colony Bank in Savannah with Market President Drew Hulsey, and VPs’ Kate Rott and Sara Norwood

Mollee D. Harper

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Savannah CEO had the pleasure of interviewing Drew Hulsey, Savannah Market President for Colony Bank, along with his executive team members, Kate Rott, Commercial Lending Vice President, and Sara Norwood, Office Manager and Vice President for the downtown branch. During our time together, Hulsey, Rott and Norwood share updates on last year’s grand opening of their beautiful new location on Drayton Street in the heart of downtown Savannah, and what they are doing collectively between their three Savannah branch locations to better meet the needs of individuals and communities throughout Central and South Georgia.

Colony Bankcorp, Inc. is a single bank holding company headquartered out of Fitzgerald, Georgia with assets of $1.15 billion and can be found on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol “CBAN.” Colony Bank has 28 locations to serve individuals and businesses throughout Central and South Georgia in the cities of Albany, Ashburn, Broxton, Centerville, Columbus, Cordele, Douglas, Eastman, Fitzgerald, Leesburg, Moultrie, Quitman, Rochelle, Savannah, Soperton, Statesboro, Sylvester, Thomaston, Tifton, Valdosta, and Warner Robins.

Drew Hulsey joined Colony Bank in 2011 and serves as CEO and Savannah Market President overseeing operations for the three branch locations in Savannah along with the Statesboro Loan Production and Mortgage Origination Office. Hulsey has 25 years of experience as an executive in the community banking sector. He got his start with Citizens and Southern Bank in Savannah in 1985 and has served banks in Atlanta, Valdosta and Macon, Georgia as well as Jacksonville, Florida. Hulsey graduated from Georgia Southern University.    

Hulsey shared, “My style is to hire the best possible people and give them free reign to run the business on the local level as they see fit. We believe in a lot of personal service. It’s not uncommon for our customers to receive a phone call over the weekend to resolve an issue.  We believe this level of service is unique and important to service the dynamic and diversified needs of individuals and businesses in the Savannah market.”

Kate Rott serves as Commercial Lender Vice President for Colony Bank out of the Drayton location. She services the entire Savannah metro area providing resources and support to help facilitate the growth of local Savannah companies. Rott was a Trustee Scholarship recipient and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in German Studies from Principia College. She received her Master’s degree in Germanic languages and literature from University of Colorado.

Rott explained, “Originally we were the Bank of Fitzgerald and Colony Bank of Fitzgerald, operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Colony Bankcorp Inc. since 1983.  In 2008, Colony Bankcorp Inc effected a merger of all its subsidiary banks into one surviving Bank, Colony Bank.” 

“Colony Bank is a Georgia-based community bank with 29 branches. Our motto is ‘You belong here’. We specialize in business retail banking lending with a tradition and focus on customer and community service. With a strong presence throughout Central and South Georgia, from Columbus to Savannah, and Warner Robins to Valdosta, we service cosmopolitan as well as rural markets. Our newest branches in the Savannah market include our downtown Savannah location and a loan and mortgage production office in Statesboro.”

Rott continued, “Here in Savannah, we concentrate on business loans for property acquisition and construction, equipment purchases, business acquisitions, SBA loans and deposit transactions. We have a robust mobile application and online banking service.  While we are a relatively small bank of $1.15 billion in assets, we provide robust technology solutions such as remote deposit capture, treasury services and a mobile application. What we don’t offer in brick in mortar we offer online. We service a lot of local businesses in Savannah, downtown and its MSA.” 

“We opened the first Colony Bank branch in Savannah in 2005 on Hodgson Memorial. The next branch was built in 2008 on Ogeechee Road. The new downtown branch is located in the 200 block of Drayton Street where a former 1920s gas station used to be.” she said. 

Hulsey offered, “We looked for a downtown location for years and celebrated our grand opening of the new downtown location on Drayton St. this year. We gutted the 100-year-old gas station and started over. The building is really beautiful and purposefully reminiscent of the art deco era with stucco exterior, barrel tile roof, archways, terrazzo floors and period-inspired furniture throughout.”

Hulsey continued, “Local Architect Monica Mastrianni with Greeline Architecture designed the building for us. Monica is our late Market President, Tommy Hester’s wife, my predecessor. It meant a lot to us to have her on the project to help bring Hester’s vision to fruition.” 

Rott added, “One half of the Drayton branch holds the Colony Bank tellers and customer service representative offices and the other half is a dedicated community conference room for local meetings and events complete with a small catering kitchen. This too was the vision of Tommy Hester, our previous Market President.” 

Sara Norwood recently joined Hulsey’s dynamic executive team for the Savannah market and serves as Office Manager Vice President out of the Drayton St. branch. She has an extensive banking background of 15 years and served as Financial Center Manager for BB&T before joining Colony Bank. Norwood has won many awards for excellent management and customer service along the way. 

Norwood shared, “I travel to meet clients, pick up or drop off tax returns and forms as needed. One of my favorite parts of my position is the lending side. I love being able to lend to small businesses and provide that level of service in our community.”

Rott added, “Our strategy for 2017 is to provide excellent customer service, contribute to our community and grow our loan portfolio. We enjoyed working with America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia last month for our Drayton Street Grand Opening, where the community raised over 500 pounds of food. We were so impressed with their new initiatives and outreach that Colony Bank made a significant donation as well.”

Norwood added, “We are exploring other ways we can work with America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia again and do more in the community. Our Drayton branch is really a symbol of Colony Bank’s commitment to the community.”

Hulsey concluded, “We have a personal touch and feel at Colony Bank. We review every loan decision and deposit account locally. Our decision making management team is easy to reach. We’re available to our clients. Having local decisioning differentiates us from the rest.”

“We offer banking like it used to be with high touch, personal service, and accessibility.” 

For more information on Colony Bank visit their website at: