Executive Management

A key component of Ameris Bank's success is our strong executive management team. They take bold steps and look outside conventional wisdom and old processes to find new answers. Our leaders are committed to getting real work done, blending years of industry experience with a passion for enriching our colleagues and supporting our customers, so that Ameris Bank continues to reach new heights.


Meet our leadership team

H. Palmer Proctor Jr.

Ameris Bank Chief Executive Officer
Ameris Bancorp Chief Executive Officer

Palmer has served as CEO of Ameris Bank and Ameris Bancorp since July 2019. Prior to his current role, Palmer held the positions of President and CEO of Fidelity Bank and President of Fidelity Southern Corporation, and served on the Boards of Directors of both. Palmer held numerous management positions at Fidelity Bank, including Senior Vice President of retail and consumer banking, trust and investments, bank operations, and commercial banking activities.

Lawton E. Bassett, III

Ameris Bank President
Ameris Bancorp Banking Group President

Lawton E. Bassett, III, has served as Ameris Bank president and Ameris Bancorp Banking Group president, since February 2017. Prior to his current position, Bassett served as executive vice president and chief banking officer for the Company’s Georgia and Alabama regions beginning January 2016, and regional president and market president from 2006 to 2016. From 2003 to 2006, he served as president and chief executive officer of Citizens Security Bank, formerly a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. Prior to joining the Company, Bassett served in various commercial lending and leadership roles at Barnett Bank and SunTrust.

Nicole S. Stokes

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Ameris Bank and Ameris Bancorp

Nicole S. Stokes has served as Ameris Bank and Ameris Bancorp executive vice president and chief financial officer since January 2018. Stokes joined Ameris Bank in December 2010 as controller, and served as Ameris Bank chief financial officer beginning June 2016. Prior to joining Ameris Bank, Stokes served as chief financial officer of PAB Bankshares and Park Avenue Bank in Valdosta, Georgia, controller of The Bank in Birmingham, Alabama and senior auditor of Synovus Financial Corporation in Columbus, Georgia.

Ross L. Creasy

Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer
Ameris Bank and Ameris Bancorp

Ross Creasy has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer of Ameris Bank since July 2019. Prior to joining Ameris Bank, Ross was the Chief Information Officer at Fidelity Bank where he had oversight of Technology and Operations. With over 24 years of experience in banking and technology, Ross has held many leadership positions, including at E*TRADE, Capital One, and the Federal Reserve. He has a MBA from Averett University and resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife and two daughters.

Jon S. Edwards

Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer
Ameris Bank and Ameris Bancorp

Jon S. Edwards has served as Executive Vice President and Director of Credit Administration since May 2005. He was Executive Vice President and Regional Bank Executive for Southern Division from August 2002 through April 2005. Mr. Edwards served as the Director of Credit Administration from March 1999 to July 2003 and Senior Vice President from March 1999 to August 2002. He was a Director of each subsidiary bank in the Southern Division from September 2002 through April 2005.

James A. LaHaise

Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer
Ameris Bank and Ameris Bancorp

James A. LaHaise has served as executive vice president and chief strategy officer since June 2018. Prior to this role, he served as executive vice president and chief banking officer for Georgia and Alabama since January 2016. He was executive vice president and commercial banking executive from June 2014-January 2016. Mr. LaHaise served as president and chief executive officer of Coastal Bankshares, Inc. and The Coastal Bank from January 2013-June 2014. He was executive vice president and chief banking officer of The Coastal Bank from May 2007 – January 2013.

Cindi H. Lewis

Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and Corporate Secretary

Ameris Bancorp and Ameris Bank
Cindi H. Lewis has served as the Chief Administrative Officer since May 2006, Executive Vice President since May 2002 and Corporate Secretary since May 2000. Ms. Lewis was the Director of Human Resources from May 2000 to May 2006 and Senior Vice President from May 2000 to May 2002.

William D. McKendry

Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer
Ameris Bancorp and Ameris Bank

William (Bill) McKendry has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer since September 2017. Prior to joining Ameris Bank, Mr. McKendry served as executive vice president and chief risk officer for Bank of North Carolina. Prior to that, he served as deputy general auditor at First Citizens Bancshares and as an audit & consulting leader for both Wachovia and Bank One Corporation.

Michael T. Pierson

Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer
Ameris Bank and Ameris Bancorp

Michael Pierson has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer of Ameris Bank and Ameris Bancorp since July 2019. Prior to joining Ameris, Michael was with Fidelity Southern Corporation and Fidelity Bank for 21 years where he served in several leadership roles including Head of Commercial Banking, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Chief Risk Officer.

Jody L. Spencer

Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Ameris Bancorp and Ameris Bank

Jody has served as executive vice president and general counsel of Ameris Bank since July 2019. Prior to joining Ameris, Jody was an attorney with Rogers & Hardin LLP in Atlanta where he was a partner for more than 11 years and worked closely with Ameris. Jody earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law, and holds a master’s in accounting from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

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