After 15 years of service, Steve Bridges, President, and CEO of Planters First Bank has announced his retirement. Steve will retire on June 24, 2020, as President and CEO but will serve in an advisory role and other capacities to the Bank until the end of 2020. Steve was promoted to President and CEO of Planters First Bank in August 2018. Prior to becoming President and CEO, he was Chief Credit Officer and a Commercial Lender.
Steve began his banking career at Cordele Banking Company (same location as our current Cordele office) in 1976, later he was employed for 22 years at First State Bank/Regions until 2005 when he joined Planters First Bank.
Steve’s leadership has allowed the Bank to remain a fixture of the great communities it serves during some challenging times, such as the Great Recession of 2007/2008 and, most recently, the Coronavirus. Additionally, under Steve’s guidance, the Bank has made several investments in technology, human capital, and infrastructure to ensure that the Bank will flourish in the coming years.
Steve is married to Kaye Schofill Bridges. They have 2 children, Mandi Saratsiotis (Alex) and Adam Bridges (Inga). He also has 6 grandchildren (Hannah, Sara Grace, William, Mary Katherine, Isabelle, and Caroline. Steve and Kaye are active members at Cordele First United Methodist Church.
Planters First Bancorp Chairman, Bob Way said, “One of the highlights of my career was when Steve ceased to be my competitor at First State Bank and became my colleague here at PFB. The potential of this company is probably greater than at any time of my career, and part of that reason is due to the steady leadership Steve provided over the past 2 years through some challenging events. He is deeply respected by regulators and is loved and respected by the ownership of this company. We appreciate all he has done and continues to do for this organization and look forward to his wise counsel moving forward.”
Planter First Bank Chairman, John Way, stated, “Steve has left an immeasurable imprint here at PFB and the other banks that he’s worked with during his career. His guidance during several monumental and challenging events at PFB will forever be admired and appreciated. Beyond the Bank, Steve has also left a legacy in Cordele and the surrounding area. His selfless character and his work ethic have been truly inspiring.”
Planters Bancorp, CEO, Dan Speight, stated, “Steve has been the consummate team player his entire banking career. I have been fortunate to know Steve since I first started in banking. His integrity, his compassion for his teammates and customers, and his banking experience has always made him one of the elite bankers in our state. Steve stepped in and took on the role of CEO when someone of his caliber and demeanor was needed.” Speight further stated, “Steve has been instrumental in making the current transition and his ultimate retirement both smooth and professional. Steve Bridges has represented Planters First, his community, and the banking industry superbly. I wish him well in his retirement as it is well deserved.”
Upon Steve’s retirement and as guided by the Bank’s management succession plan, Eli Tinsley will be promoted to the position of Bank President, and Mike Phillips will assume the role of Bank CEO.
Reflecting on his retirement announcement, Steve said, “I have always been thankful for my Planters First Family and the opportunity they’ve given me to continue my banking career in my hometown of Cordele. Banking has changed considerably over the past 44 years, and it has always been very interesting and challenging. Throughout the years, the one constant has been the opportunity to work with wonderful people and great customers. I’m eternally grateful for the many wonderful colleagues and customers that have become friends. I have very much enjoyed my career, but I am also looking forward to retirement.”