Personal Business

Highlands Union Bank Expands Tri-Cities Presence

ABINGDON, VA, January 19, 2017 – Highlands Union Bank announced today that it has hired four experienced bank executives to further serve the growing Tri-Cities business community, which includes the greater Bristol, TN/VA, Kingsport, TN, and Johnson City, TN area.

Leading Highlands’ Tri-Cities market will be Mike Hill (, who will oversee all banking activities ensuring outstanding customer service for its existing Bristol customers and executing the bank’s planned expansion into Johnson City and Kingsport. Hill is a Kingsport native and resides in Johnson City. He has nearly 25 years banking experience with the prior ten years being in the Tri-Cities. Prior to joining Highlands, Hill served as the Tri-Cities Market Executive for First Citizens Bank where he founded their local presence. Hill is a graduate of Leadership Johnson City and Leadership Kingsport.

Other new team members include:

Chris Blankenship (, Commercial Relationship Manager, is a Bristol native and resident with 15 years commercial banking experience in the Tri-Cities. Previously, he served in roles at the former AmSouth Bank, where he was recognized as the fifth highest performing Business Banker company-wide. He was also with First Tennessee, and most recently with First Citizens Bank.

Diane Siedentopf (, Tri-Cities Market Assistant, is a Johnson City resident with 20 years of commercial and retail banking experience. She joins Highlands from First Citizens Bank.

Billy Simmons (, Knoxville/Tri-Cities Wealth Director, a Richlands, Virginia native and Bristol resident with 15 years investment advisory experience across Southwest Virginia and Eastern Tennessee. Simmons previously served in similar roles at the former Wachovia and BB&T. While with BB&T he was recognized as the second highest performing financial advisor and subsequently Sales Manager of the Year company-wide. He joins Highlands from Regions Bank.

"We are extremely pleased to have these outstanding bankers join Highlands. Together, they bring a comprehensive understanding of the local business community and a wide range of expertise that will enable us to best serve the financial needs of Tri-Cities’ private business owners, professionals, and other individuals," said Timothy K. Schools, President and Chief Executive Officer. “They each have had successful careers at larger institutions and were seeking something different. They joined the Highlands Team for its unique, personal, and creative delivery of financial services.”

The Tri-Cities region which spans Upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, has over 500,000 residents and is comprised of many private businesses, professionals, and entrepreneurs.

Among metropolitan areas, the region’s combined multi-state population would rank fourth in Virginia and fifth in Tennessee. The economy has moved from recovery to expansion in recent years, with healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and recreation/tourism sectors leading the growth. Tucked between Tennessee’s third largest metropolitan area, Knoxville, and one of North Carolina’s most dynamic metropolitan areas, Asheville, Tri-Cities is cited frequently as a great place to live due to the beauty of the region, mild climate, relatively low unemployment, and access to unique outdoor activities.

Additional Tri-Cities management team:

Brooke Brickey ( ), Branch Manager,is a Gate City, Virginia native and Kingsport resident with more than 15 years of banking experience all of which has been in the Tri-Cities. Brooke joined Highlands in 2016 having previously served as a Branch Manager at BB&T and Regions. She is a graduate of LEAD Bristol and Leadership Kingsport.

Michael Eldreth (, Commercial Relationship Manager, is a Bristol native and resident with over 25 years of banking experience all of which has been in the Tri-Cities. Michael has been a team member of Highlands since 2008.

Jon Hermes (, Branch and Commercial Relationship Manager, is a Kingsport native and resident with 18 years of banking experience all of which has been in the Tri-Cities. Jon has been a team member of Highlands since 1999.

Melissa Mitchell (, Branch Manager, is a Bristol native and Abingdon, Virginia resident with more than 17 years banking experience all of which has been in the Tri-Cities. Melissa has been a team member of Highlands since 2001.

Jody Mondrage (, Branch Manager, is a Bristol native and resident with more nearly 20 years of banking experience. Jody joined Highlands in 2016 having previously served as a Branch Manager at Wells Fargo and Regions and in a commercial banking role at First Tennessee. She is a graduate of LEAD Bristol.

About Highlands

Highlands provides a relationship-based and highly personal banking experience to small to mid-sized private businesses, professionals, and other individuals. Focused on providing value to each and every customer, Highlands delivers banking services through highly skilled employees, digital channels, as well as 14 branches located in Western North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee, and Southwest Virginia.

Cautions Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including statements relating to financial and operational performance and certain plans, expectations, goals and projections. Although the Company believes that its expectations with respect to the forward-looking statements are based upon reliable assumptions within the bounds of its knowledge of its business and operations, these statements are inherently subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties, and there can be no assurances that actual results, performance or achievements will not differ materially from those set forth or implied in the forward-looking statements. For an explanation of the risks and uncertainties associated with forward-looking statements, see the risk factors and other cautionary language included in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015, and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are based upon information available at the time of the release, and the Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement.

For more information about Highlands, visit the company’s website at