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Released Februrary 11, 2004

BANKING EXECUTIVE STARTS OFF SPRING BUSINESS LECTURES
By Jana Bryant

HATTIESBURG - With nearly 30 years in the banking industry, Hattiesburg-area bank executive David E. Johnson will bring his experience and expertise into the classroom for students, faculty and guests of the College of Business and Economic Development at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of The First Bancshares, Inc. and The First, A National Banking Association, will speak on "The Role of the Community Bank in Our Economy" during a Feb. 26 lecture at 11 a.m. in Room 303 of Joseph Greene Hall.

Johnson serves on the board of directors of the New Orleans Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, as well as on the board of directors of The First Bancshares, Inc. and on the board of directors of The First, A National Banking Association.

Johnson's banking career began in 1977 when he joined First National Bank of Jackson. He joined Sunburst Bank in 1988 as a senior vice president and senior lender for the Hattiesburg branch and was promoted to senior lender for the southern region in 1992.

In 1995, after Union Planters purchased Sunburst Bank, Johnson left to organize a new bank in Lamar County. The First Bancshares, Inc., a holding company, was formed and The First National Bank of South Mississippi in Hattiesburg was organized in 1996.

In 1999, First National Bank of the Pine Belt was chartered under the same bank- holding company. Last month, the two banks were consolidated to form one bank, The First, A National Banking Association.

Each semester the College of Business and Economic Development brings into the classroom leading business executives to share their experience of the real world of business. The public is invited.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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