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Newton Federal will merge with Atlanta’s Affinity Bank
Community First

COVINGTON, Ga. — An area bank will become one of the biggest in metro Atlanta after a purchase announced this week.

Community First Bancshares Inc., the parent company of Newton Federal Bank, has entered into a definitive merger agreement with ABB Financial Group Inc., the parent company of Affinity Bank.

Covington-based CFBI will acquire ABB and its wholly owned bank subsidiary, Affinity Bank, in an all-cash deal worth about $40.3 million.

The boards of directors of both companies have approved the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year or early next year.

The company will be one of the 10 largest Georgia-based banks, by deposits, with headquarters in metro Atlanta.

“This transaction marks an important milestone for Newton Federal Bank as we continue to position our organization as a premier Atlanta community bank,” Billy Fortson, the chairman of Community First Bancshares, said in a statement.

Ed Cooney, the CEO of Atlanta-based Affinity, called the combination “incredibly positive for both banks’ clients, employees and shareholders.”

Johnny Smith, the CEO of Newton Federal, called it a “transformative event” for the bank’s customers, employees and shareholders.

“Together, we believe the strengths are enhanced and the weaknesses are diminished,” he said. “I believe there will be very few Georgia community banks that will match our diverse lines of business and attractive market demographics.”

Cooney will become the CEO of Community First Bancshares and Newton Federal upon completion of the deal.

Smith will be the president of the company and the bank as Affinity merges into Newton Federal.

Based on June 30 financials, the combined institution will have about $613 million in assets, $465 million in deposits and $500 million in loans.

Newton Federal Bank opened in 1928 and operates two full-service offices in Covington and loan production offices in Athens and Braselton. It has $305 million in assets.

Affinity Bank was formed in 2002 as Atlanta Business Bank. It’s based near SunTrust Park in southern Cobb County and has a loan production office in the Cumming and Alpharetta area.