James Bennett has been designated executive director of external affairs at First Citizens Bank.

Seasoned banker Bennett is now in charge of national community involvement and fostering connections with federal, state, and local government representatives, members of Congress, trade associations, and other public policy stakeholders.

His new post started effective 1 January 2024 and also reporting to chairman and CEO Frank B. Holding, Jr.

Holding commented: “We are glad to have James’ leadership in this significant, new role at our organisation. As First Citizens continues to grow, it’s important that we remain a valuable partner to policy and regulatory leaders as part of our ongoing work together to ensure the strength and effectiveness of the US banking system. James brings a wealth of relevant experience to this position, as well as a deep knowledge of our company, its values and people.”

Between 2015 and 2023, Bennett worked at First Citizens as an executive in charge of the Mid-South region.

He oversaw retail, business, and commercial banking operations as well as spearheaded market growth initiatives in the Augusta, Georgia, and Columbia, South Carolina areas.

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In addition to this, Bennett served as executive vice president and director of public relations for First Citizens Bank – South Carolina from 2002 to 2015, the year before the bank merged with its North Carolina-based parent, First Citizens Bank, prior to taking on his role as Mid-South area executive.

After spending two years at the Columbia bank, Bennett returned to First Citizens after being appointed chief executive officer of South Carolina Community Bank (now Optus Bank), the state’s first black-owned banking institution, in 2000.

In the past, he began working at First Citizens – South Carolina in December 1994 as the director of community banking. Bennett later advanced to the position of director of economic development after joining the professional banking division.