Herman J. Russell, Sr., Citizens Bancshares Corporation Chairman Emeritus. An entrepreneur and philanthropist turned a small plastering firm into one of the most successful African-American-owned real estate development and construction companies in America. Russell, a lifelong Atlantan who counted among his friends several presidents and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., helped to position the bank for unprecedented growth and wielded his influence far beyond Atlanta the Capitol of the South.
and Arthur George Gaston, founder of Citizens Federal Savings Bank. Famed philanthropist and well-known entrepreneur, Gaston established several businesses in Birmingham, Alabama, and played a significant role in the struggle to integrate Birmingham in 1963.

February 28, 2003: Citizens Trust Bank acquired the historical Citizens Federal Savings Bank of Birmingham, Alabama. Through the acquisition of Citizens Federal, founded in 1957 by philanthropist and well-known entrepreneur Dr. A.G. Gaston, Citizens Trust Bank increased its assets to nearly $400 million.
At this time, Citizens Trust Bank was first introduced to Cynthia N. Day.  In 2005, two years after the
acquisition, Ms. Day became the Senior Executive Vice President & COO of Citizens Trust Bank making her the first woman to hold this position in the history of both institutions.