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Area bank expands services

LAWRENCEVILLE - Bartow Morgan Jr., chief executive officer of The Brand Banking Company, has announced the formation of Brand Mortgage Group.

"The creation of Brand Mortgage Group signals our commitment to mortgage banking and our desire to offer our customers the best mortgage products, the most competitive rates, and the highest level of personal service in the market," Morgan said. "We've always provided mortgage lending, but are now expanding our efforts and resources to better serve homebuyers and lenders in our fast-growing area."

The group will be led by Greg Shumate, president and managing partner. A Gwinnett County native, Shumate has more than 20 years of mortgage lending experience in Gwinnett County.

Most recently, he directed Southeastern operations for Opteum Financial Services.

"I'm eager to bring my expertise back to Gwinnett County and our surrounding communities," Shumate said. "Brand Mortgage Group will be a customer-driven operation, offering personal service and product innovations in the long-standing tradition of Brand Bank, Gwinnett's original community bank."

Shumate also has first-hand experience as a Brand customer.

"My first loan, as a teenager, was with Brand Bank," he said.

Active within the industry, Shumate is one of only two lenders to have received the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia Gold Award for 15 consecutive years. He is a member of the Gwinnett Board of Realtors, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Council for Quality Growth, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, and the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association. Shumate is an active supporter of the American Cancer Society, the Georgia Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and the Hi Hope Service Center.

He makes his home in Grayson, with his wife, Tammy, and their two children.

Brand Mortgage Group operations will be headquartered in the new Brand Bank building now under construction at Interstate 85 and Sugarloaf Parkway, while mortgage loan officers will continue to work throughout the Brand Bank branch network.