Heritage Financial Group (NASDAQ: HBOS), the mid-tier holding company for HeritageBank of the South, today announced that it will establish a loan production office (LPO) in Valdosta, Georgia, marking the Company's entry into another new market and continuing Heritage Financial Group's efforts to expand its footprint in South Georgia and North Central Florida. The LPO is expected to open immediately and will be temporarily located at 103 Roosevelt Drive. The Company expects to open a full service banking location in Valdosta once a suitable branch location is secured and following regulatory approval.

The Company's decision to move ahead with expansion to Valdosta was cemented by the Bank's ability to attract three seasoned and locally experienced bankers in the market to establish a strong core for the new LPO. These include David Durland, formerly CEO of First State Bank and Trust in Valdosta, a $578 million affiliate of Synovus Bank. In his new role, David will serve as the Valdosta Market President for HeritageBank of the South. Joining him from First State Bank in the transition is senior lender Ed Hutchinson, who will be Senior Vice President and Senior Lender, and Terry Bennett, the main commercial lender for First State Bank in Valdosta, who will be Senior Vice President and Commercial Banker.

Commenting on the announcement, Leonard Dorminey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Financial Group, said, "We have long considered Valdosta to be an attractive and vibrant market, one that could be strategically important to our company, so we are pleased to announce this special opportunity to expand to this city. HeritageBank of the South has built its reputation on strength, service and the ability to meet the needs of consumers and small business owners, and we look forward to bringing our style of community banking to Valdosta and putting those values to work for new friends and customers there. Importantly, we take this next step with a talented and proven team at the helm of this market. David, Ed and Terry bring a collective experience of 67 years in serving Valdosta and have developed a deep understanding of local conditions and trends. We are pleased to welcome them to our team, and we intend to commit our full resources and capabilities to help them create the best banking experience possible for the people of Valdosta – for a long time to come."