6/6/2011

Bankfirst Recognized as “#1 Community Bank SBA Lender” and “#1 Small Business Lender” in Florida

Winter Park, Florida – (June 6, 2011) – Donald J. McGowan, President and CEO of BankFIRST announced today that the bank has received the “#1 Community Bank SBA Lender” designation from the U.S. Small Business Administration, North Florida District, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010. BankFIRST was recognized as the recipient of the “#1 Community Bank SBA Lender” award, as selected from among the 43 counties covered by the district, at the 19th Annual Small Business Luncheon, held on May 25, 2011 at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

In February 2011, BankFIRST also retained its standing as the “#1 Small Business Lender in Florida”, marking the second consecutive year that BankFIRST has secured the top position, as ranked by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration from call reports of all Florida financial institutions in 2008 and 2009.

McGowan stated, “We are extremely pleased to have been recognized as both the #1 Community Bank SBA Lender” and the “#1 Small Business Lender” in Florida. BankFIRST's commitment to small business lending and community economic development is unparalleled in the banking industry. Our SBA Express Loan Center serves as an economic development resource for the Central Florida community by offering small businesses access to one of the widest arrays of government guaranteed loan programs available at any bank in Florida.”

BankFIRST is an SBA Preferred Lender, which is the Small Business Administration’s most trusted designation. As a National Preferred Lender, the SBA delegates its underwriting and approval authority directly to BankFIRST. The SBA Express Loan Center provides clients with a number of benefits, including products with 90% real estate financing, terms up to 25 years with no balloons, and loans up to $5 million, as well as lines of credit.

About BankFIRST

Since it’s founding in 1989 as a state-chartered, federally insured commercial bank, BankFIRST has grown its assets to over $600 million. Situated in Central Florida, BankFIRST has ten branch offices located in Orange, Seminole, Lake and Brevard Counties, and has approximately 120 employees. In January 2010, the bank’s holding company, The BANKshares, Inc. announced the signing of a definitive agreement and plan of merger to acquire East Coast Community Bank, which will extend the bank’s geographic footprint into Volusia County, with two additional branch locations in Ormond Beach and Port Orange.

BankFIRST has been the recipient of numerous awards, including: “Best Community Bank in Central Florida” by the readers of the Orlando Business Journal in 2006 and 2009, “Best Bank in Seminole County” in 2008 and 2009, “2009 Business Achievement Award for Civic and Community Efforts” by the Lake Eustis Chamber of Commerce, and the “#1 SBA Lender in Brevard County” through March 31, 2011.

For more information on BankFIRST, visit www.bankfirst.com.