Serving as one of the last hometown banks in Newton County, Newton Federal Bank has been in business for more than 84 years.
The bank started in 1928 as Newton County Building and Loan Association with W.C. McGahee serving as the founder. In 1947, the bank was established as a federal charter and became Newton Federal Savings and Loan Association.
The bank changed its name to Newton Federal Bank in 2004 and continues to operate as a mutual thrift charter.
George Lazenby said he has been working at Newton Federal Bank since he graduated from the University of Georgia in 1974.
Lazenby said he became president, CEO and director in 1994. He said the bank offers everything from checking and savings accounts to several different types of loans.
He said Newton Federal Bank has about 10,000 to 12,000 customers. Lazenby said he likes helping the banks customers and meeting different people in the community. He said serving as a hometown bank makes a difference in customer service.
"We're the only community bank left in the community; we're the only hometown bank. This makes a difference," Lazenby said. "I've told my staff the only thing we have to sell is service. I view that as very important. We try not to turn our customers into a number."
Lazenby said over the years, he has heard many testimonies of how much the bank has helped people out in the community.
"I've gotten some letters in the past where some of my customers took out the time to write a letter to my employees for their customer service. That means a lot. You always hear about the complaints but you don't always hear about the praise," he said.
When asked about surviving after the economic down turn, Lazenby said the bank has done well compared to other community banks. He said they haven't had to lay off any employees.
"All community banks are suffering right now. We've been very fortunate that we are well capitalized. We feel like we are going to be able to make it through this. At some point the economy will recover," Lazenby said.
Lazenby said Newton Federal has not only been active in helping their customers, but also in contributing to different organizations in the community.
"We're very active in the community as far as donations. We've donated to several projects. We've been a major sponsor in Relay for Life for several years," Lazenby said. We've got five directors who are former chairmen for the Chamber of Commerce. I think that shows commitment to the community also."
Newton Federal Bank has three locations in Newton County. For more information about the bank, call (770) 786-7088.