Our Story

One of the South’s fastest-growing financial institutions did not originate in a large, metropolitan area or grow with the usual bank business plan. Community Bank, formerly Farmers and Merchants Bank, started more than 100 years ago in a small timber community in east central Mississippi and has grown by employing a unique approach to one of America’s most routine industries.


From 1995 until today, with few acquisitions, Community Bank has grown from $200 million in assets and a couple of offices to more than $3 billion in assets, 47 offices and over 750 employees in four states.

The Model

Community Bank’s window of opportunity came in the 1980s when the organization was faced with three distinct challenges that many banks face even today: how to create big bank services and economies of scale while maintaining the advantages of being a true, local community bank; how to find an innovative way to continue to improve in customer service; and how to compete with the aggressive expansion of competitor banks’ branches. Community Bank’s ultimate answers to those challenges helped fuel tremendous growth that today spreads the organization’s reach across four Southern states.


First, to create big bank synergies, Community Bank established four regions in which individual bank offices operate. This structure gave Community Bank the best of both worlds — pooled resources that can afford expensive technologies and services and local decision makers empowered to act with the community in mind.


This structure not only helps Community Bank offer true community banking, but allows for better trained management as well. At Community Bank, regional CEOs operate their banks independently as true executives — overseeing their bank’s loan portfolio, managing deposits, directing different bank functions, providing leadership in their community, making strategic competitive decisions in their marketplace, working with their own board of directors, and negotiating shared services. This creates a highly effective training ground for our leaders.


In an effort to allow all of the bank’s regional CEOs to participate in the decision making process and as a way to foster creativity, a combined management meeting is held once a month. At this meeting, policy is debated, decided, and delegated, and CEOs are given the opportunity to not only represent their region’s interests, but also to shape the direction of the bank as a whole.


Second, in an attempt to gain a unique edge in the never-ending battle to outperform the competition in the area of customer service, Community Bank took an extraordinary step. Unlike some banks whose retirement programs require an employee contribution before providing a match, Community Bank established an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Under this plan, all staff members are fully funded a percentage of their total compensation each year which is invested in the bank’s stock. The move not only provides a comfortable nest egg for Community Bank staffers, but also gives them a vested interest in bank performance — particularly in how their own customer service delivery could enhance the bank’s bottom line and, therefore, their own bottom line.


Lastly, when faced with bank competition whose strategy was to build branches on every street corner and find employees to fill it, Community Bank’s response was simple — do the opposite. Community Bank answered by establishing regional banking, providing customers a superior staff, and taking the money saved and translating it into better rates for customers. The strategy has helped Community Bank surpass its competitors in efficiency by routinely carrying more assets per office than other banks in the South.

The Secret

Ask Thomas W. Colbert, Community Bank Senior Chairman and author of its growth model, what is the secret of the bank’s success and the answer will be quick and simple: “people.”


The bank takes extraordinary steps to identify and recruit topflight bank talent. Once in the organization, in addition to being owners in the bank, staff members are allowed to earn higher than normal levels of authority and independence in bank decision making. And if that weren’t enough, the bank goes the extra mile to keep their staff happy at work, including the ESOP, bonuses, benefits, clothing allowances, and other incentives. Community Bank even pays for undergraduate courses for staff members who want to pursue degrees — even if they are not finance-related.


The underlying theory in this business model is that good people in a happy workplace are the most effective instrument a bank can have in generating income. This philosophy is one of the reasons Community Bank was named one of the “Best Banks to Work For” by American Banker magazine.


People are never identified as employees at Community Bank. The thinking goes that “employees” are merely “managed,” but “people” are “nurtured.”

The Community

Community Bank also prides itself on creating community leaders in the areas it serves. Bank staff is encouraged to be involved in local activities and given the freedom to do so easily. Community Banks participate in their communities in ways no other chain banks do. Staff members coach Little League teams, serve as volunteer firemen, work with local chambers of commerce, sing in church choirs, give to local charities, host senior activities, and preside over civic clubs. You will find them in their neighborhoods helping to build a better community.


Community Bank believes if you are going to invest in having the best people you should show them off in the community. Community Bank is proud of its people and believes their involvement in their community is not just good for business, it’s simply the right thing to do.

The Values

Community Bank takes great pride in the values embraced by its bank family. Community Bank leaders believe simple values — all too often ignored by today’s society — can lead to a better quality of life for their staff and customers. Values like fairness, integrity, honesty, respect, humility, self-sacrifice and simple kindness are all hallmarks of the type of organization Community Bank strives to build everyday. From rejecting popular bank products thought to be unfair to customers to fostering a respectful and edifying work environment for staff members, Community Bank puts its values into action every day.

The Technology

We continue to invest in the latest bank technology to provide our customers the most efficient and secure tools to manage their financial needs in an ever-changing world. Community Bank’s state of the art Operations Center is designed with the best technology, managed by experienced professionals, which provide the support for our core operating system and our electronic banking products. These products include our CB2GO mobile banking app, Remote Capture, Apple Pay, Person to Person Payments and online banking to name a few.


We will continue to invest in emerging technology provided that it creates value for our customers and meets our high standards for safety and security. We believe old fashioned personal service and technology are mutually important. To that end, we will always have someone answer the phone when you call and there will be a staff member available at each of our locations to personally assist you with your banking needs.


Improving our technology means making our customers’ life easier and less complicated when it comes to banking. Secure access to your bank information is literally at your fingertips with our CB2GO mobile banking feature. With CB2GO, you can access your accounts using any web-enabled mobile device. Check your balance, transfer funds or pay bills with the smart, simple, secure and free CB2GO product of Community Bank.


With our Community Bank app, safe and quick access to your bank accounts will be even better than ever.


In addition, Apple Pay and P2P services provide customers with the leading technology to maximize their time and make banking as easy as possible.


Community Bank’s remote deposit system, called myDeposit, lets you easily scan and electronically deposit checks to your business accounts right from your desk. This saves you time and the expense of driving to and from the bank. With myDeposit, you can make a deposit, not a trip.


Images of your checks are sent safely and securely to the bank to be processed just like they were delivered in-person. Customers can use their existing computer to connect to the Internet and one of our check scanners. The myDeposit product is making it easier and faster for our customers to do their banking business so they have more time to focus on their own business.

The Future

Community Bank opened the doors to its first office in 1905. All of that history might explain why so much of the organization’s future plans center around its past. The management team at Community Bank believes the strategy that helped the bank not only survive but grow over the last 100 years is a good model to follow in the future. That model includes recruiting topflight bank talent, staying in stride with emerging financial technologies, keeping a strong focus on local customer service delivery, maintaining credit quality throughout the system, and pursuing a sound expansion strategy into emerging growth markets across the South.


There are plenty of success stories in American business and in the banking industry in particular, but it is hard to find a success story with more fascinating chapters than the ones written by Community Bank. Our team is focused on making history in our community’s future.

Our Team

Portrait of Thomas Colbert

Thomas W. Colbert

Senior Chairman of the Board, Community Bank

Portrait of Freddie Bagley

Freddie J. Bagley

Chairman of the Board, Community Bank

Portrait of Chuck Nicholson

Charles W. Nicholson, Jr.

President and CEO, Community Bank

Portrait of David Hughes

David M. Hughes

Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, Community Bank

Portrait of Darrell Brown

B. Darrell Brown

Vice Chairman of Administration, Community Bank

Wyman Jones

Wyman M. Jones

Vice Chairman and Chief Credit Officer, Community Bank

Portrait of Tim Gray

Timothy P. Gray

Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer, Community Bank

Portrait of Bobby Knox

Bobby R. Knox

Vice Chairman, Community Bank, Pine Belt Region

Portrait of Justin Martin

Justin C. Martin

Chief Executive Officer, Community Bank, Pine Belt Region

Portrait of Greg Moore

Gregory A. Moore

Chief Executive Officer, Community Bank, Metro Jackson Region

Oliver Latil

Oliver A. Latil

Chief Executive Officer, Community Bank, Coast Region

Mike Webb

Mike A. Webb

Chief Executive Officer, Community Bank, North Mississippi Region

Portrait of Jonathan White

R. Jonathan White

Chief Information Officer, Community Bank



Farmers and Merchants Bank is founded in Forest, MS.


Thomas W. Colbert is named president and CEO, becoming Mississippi’s youngest bank CEO at the age of 28.


Farmers and Merchants Corporation is incorporated as Mississippi’s first-ever bank holding company.


Thomas W. Colbert becomes chairman of the holding company.


Freddie J. Bagley is named president of the holding company.


The holding company changes its name to Community Bancshares of Mississippi, Inc.


Farmers and Merchants changes name to Community Bank of Mississippi.

Community Bancshares acquires Merchants and Manufacturers Bank of Ellisville, Mississippi.

Community Bancshares acquires Peoples Bank of Mississippi based in Indianola.


Community Bancshares forms Community Operations, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the holding company that serves the operations needs of its member banks.


Community Bancshares forms Community Bank, Coast in Biloxi, Mississippi.


Community Bancshares forms Community Bank, DeSoto County in Southaven, Mississippi.


Community Bancshares is named one of Mississippi’s fastest-growing private companies by the Mississippi Business Journal’s annual survey.

Community Bancshares forms Community Bank, Meridian in Meridian, Mississippi.


Community Bancshares surpasses the $1 billion in assets milestone.


Community Bancshares acquires First National Bank of Lucedale in Lucedale, Mississippi.


Community Bancshares acquires Security Bank in Amory, Mississippi.


Thomas W. Colbert is inducted into the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame.

Chuck Nicholson named chief operating officer of Community Bancshares.

By combining Community Bank, DeSoto County and Community Bank, Indianola, Community Bancshares moves into Tennessee by forming Community Bank NA (National Association) and opening an office in Memphis.


Community Bank is named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Mississippi Business Journal.

Community Bancshares joins with local investors to open a bank in Destin, Florida.

Community Bancshares surpasses the $2 billion in assets milestone.


Community Bank is named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Mississippi Business Journal for the second year in a row.

Community Bank, N.A. in Indianola and Community Bank in Amory join forces to create Community Bank, North Mississippi.

Community Bank is named one of the “Fast 40″ by the Mississippi Business Journal for being one of the top privately owned businesses in Mississippi.

Community Bank, National Association, headquartered in Lucedale, joins with Community Bank, Coast, headquartered in Biloxi.

Community Bank, National Association, opens office located in Mobile, AL.


Community Bank is named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Mississippi Business Journal for the third year in a row.

Community Bank is honored with the Better Business Bureau Integrity Award.

Community Bancshares opens state-of- the-art operations center in Brandon.


Community Bank is named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Mississippi Business Journal for the fourth year in a row.

Community Bank, National Association opens office located in Daphne, AL.


Community Bancshares joins forces with Investment Professionals, Inc. to form their own investment group Community Investment Professionals.


Community Bancshares, Inc., acquires 100% ownership of Community Bank of Florida.

Community Bank, National Association in Alabama and Community Bank, Destin, in Florida merge with Community Bank, Coast.


Community Bank is named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Mississippi Business Journal for the seventh year in a row.

Community Bank, Coast, opens new headquarters office in the Springhill area of Mobile, Alabama, and opens new office in Fairhope, Alabama.

Community Bank, Coast, purchases and opens a full–service banking office in Crestview, Florida.


Community Bancshares, Inc. Board of Directors announces succession plan for senior management of the holding company. Plan names Thomas W. Colbert as Senior Chairman of the Board, Freddie J. Bagley as Chairman of the Board, Charles W. Nicholson, Jr., as President and Chief Executive Officer, and David M. Hughes as Chief Operating Officer.

Community Bank of Mississippi opens Lake Harbour office in Ridgeland, Mississippi.


Community Bank, Coast, opens a banking office in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Community Bank of Mississippi opens Spillway office in Brandon, Mississippi.

Community Bank ranked in the Top 25 in the country for Best Banks to Work For by American Bankers Association.

Community Bank named #1 in Mississippi in loan volume by the Small Business Administration.

Community Bank Mortgage experienced a record year in number of loans and loan volume.


Community Bank named one of the Best Banks to Work For by American Bankers Association.

Community Bank moves an office to a new location in Mobile, Alabama.

Community Bank launched a new systemwide rebranding effort.

Community Bank named #1 in Mississippi in loan volume by the Small Business Administration.


Community Bank reached $3 billion in assets.

Community Bank opened mortgage offices in Oxford, Mississippi, and Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Community Bank named one of the Best Banks to Work for by American Bankers Association.

Community Bank named #1 in Mississippi in loan volume by the Small Business Administration.


Community Bank consolidated four bank charters to one.

Community Bank announced plans for construction of new corporate headquarters as the anchor of Waterton, a Traditional Neighborhood Development in Flowood, Mississippi.

Community Bank announced plans for new mortgage headquarters in Flowood, Mississippi.

Start a new career at one of American Banker magazine’s Best Banks to Work For.

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“Our relationship with Community Bank is better described as a valued partnership than a customer vendor relationship. Community Bank’s culture centers around the human relationships. They invest the time and energy to get to know individuals in our organization and understand what will add value to our current situation. They work hard to optimize that value and the result has been a highly transparent and efficient relationship that has indeed optimized our organization’s objectives. It is a banking relationship that goes beyond the products themselves and continues to be viewed as a valued partner for our organization.”

— Vance, Community Bank customer in Mississippi