First Citizens Bank has appointed James Bennett executive director of External Affairs.
In this newly created position, Bennett, a seasoned First Citizens banker, is now responsible for nationwide community engagement as well as strengthening relationships with state and federal government officials, members of Congress, trade groups and other public policy stakeholders.
“We are glad to have James’ leadership in this significant, new role at our organization,” Holding says. “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 U.S. 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.”
From 2015 to 2023, Bennett served as Mid-South area executive at First Citizens, overseeing commercial, business and retail banking efforts, and leading market development efforts in the Columbia and Aiken areas of South Carolina and the Augusta area of Georgia.
Prior to his duties as Mid-South area executive, from 2002 to 2015, Bennett was executive vice president and director of public affairs for First Citizens Bank – South Carolina, before its merger with North Carolina-headquartered First Citizens Bank.
In addition to working closely with elected officials and the South Carolina Bankers Association, he was appointed by the governor of South Carolina to serve on multiple committees, including the S.C. State Ports Authority, the Education Oversight Committee and the accelerateSC initiative in 2020-21. He served as the first African American chairman of the South Carolina Bankers Association in 2020 and was named United Way of the Midlands Humanitarian of the Year in 2022.