SOURCE: United Community Banks, Inc.

April 30, 2005 17:00 ET

United Community Banks, Inc. to Open a New Bank in Gainesville, Georgia

Adds Three Veteran Local Bankers to Expand Presence in Hall County

BLAIRSVILLE, GA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 30, 2005 -- United Community Banks, Inc. (NASDAQ: UCBI) announced that it plans to open a new bank in Gainesville, expanding its presence in Hall County, Georgia.

"United Community Bank, Hall County will be located in downtown Gainesville and will be managed by Chairman Rich White, CEO Dick Valentine and President Burton Stephens, all of whom are long-time bankers in their local market," said Jimmy Tallent, president and chief executive officer of United Community Banks, Inc. "Rich, Dick and Burton will join United on May 2nd and the new bank will begin commercial loan operations immediately, and they expect to expand to a full-service bank by the third quarter of 2005."

Gainesville is the county seat and economic center of Hall County. It is located 50 miles northeast of Atlanta on the eastern shore of Lake Lanier and is adjacent to both United's existing North Georgia, as well as its metropolitan Atlanta markets. Hall County's population of more than 160,000 grew 46% from 1990 to 2000 and has grown another 15% since then, making it one of the fastest growing markets in Georgia and in the United States.

"For years, we have wanted to expand in Hall County beyond our Murrayville office," said Tallent. "We are excited about both the potential that Gainesville offers United Community Bank, as well as the opportunity to expand our customer-focused style of community banking. Rich, Dick, and Burton have strong roots in community banking and share our passion for providing high quality customer service. Additionally, they have a long track record of success with a combined 100 years of banking experience in Gainesville and Hall County. There is no better team of bankers in this market and we are optimistic about the growth opportunities in Hall County," added Tallent.

"Our decision to become part of the United family was based on our strong desire to return to community banking," said Rich White. "United Community Bank has 23 locally managed community banks with 84 locations in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. They understand that every community is different and the needs of their customers are unique. What's unique about United is their ability to provide products and services similar to a large regional bank but still operate locally as a community bank. This is a rare and desirable combination that benefits the small business and individual customer."

Commenting on the Gainesville expansion, Tallent stated, "Organic growth, which includes opening new banking offices, is the most important element of our balanced growth strategy. As we have said time and time again, our decision to expand is based primarily on finding the right people in the right markets that fit our community-banking model. Then we can build a bank around them. Opening our Gainesville bank demonstrates how this strategy can be successfully executed. We are proud to have this team join the United Community Bank family and believe this is the beginning of many things to come in our further expansion into Hall County."

About United Community Banks, Inc.

Headquartered in Blairsville, United Community Banks is the third-largest bank holding company in Georgia. United Community Banks has assets of $5.3 billion and operates 23 community banks with 84 banking offices located throughout north Georgia, metro Atlanta, coastal Georgia, western North Carolina and east Tennessee. The company specializes in providing personalized community banking services to individuals and small to mid-size businesses in its markets. United Community Banks also offers the convenience of 24-hour access to its services through a network of ATMs, telephone and on-line banking. United Community Banks common stock is listed on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol UCBI. Additional information can be found at the company's web site,

Contact Information