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ICBA Congratulates Top Community Bankers for 2005

Washington, D.C. (October 21, 2005) - The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) congratulates three chief executive officers of ICBA member banks who have been recognized as Community Bankers of the Year by the American Banker newspaper. All three banks are located in the Gulf Coast region and were recognized for their efforts following Hurricane Katrina.

"This is a tremendous achievement for these bankers considering the business and personal challenges they experienced in the face of this disaster," said Camden R. Fine, ICBA president and CEO. "The bankers chosen for this honor were hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. Community banks throughout the region have shown us how to be resilient and resourceful, and how to be excellent community partners," Fine added.

The three ICBA member bankers honored are:

  • James M. Hudson, president & CEO of Omnibank, Metairie, La. who lead the effort to have banks work together by establishing shared bank branches and creating a system for expanded deposit insurance coverage.

  • Chevis Swetman, president & CEO of The Peoples Bank, Biloxi Miss., which lost six of 16 branches during Katrina. Having lost his own home, he moved his family into a conference room in the bank's headquarters and brought in mobile offices to serve as temporary branch offices.

  • Guy Williams, chairman, president & CEO of Gulf Coast Bank & Trust, New Orleans, took his own boat across Lake Pontchartrain each night to rescue people trapped by the flood waters while each morning he helped secure new office space and housing for the bank's staff.

American Banker's Banker of the Year Awards honors the individuals who set the highest standards of progress, innovation, and performance in the banking and financial services industry. This is the first time American Banker has honored three community bankers with prestigious Community Banker of the Year Award. "The publication honors these three in recognition of their extraordinary contributions — and by extension the contributions of many other community bankers in the Gulf States — to aid the recovery in Katrina's aftermath." American Banker said in a statement.