There is a rumor making the rounds in Winder that Community & Southern Bank is not planning to purchase either the main office of the former Peoples Bank or its large operations center.
The rumor may prove true, but bank officials at this point say they have not decided which facilities to keep. Winder Mayor Chip Thompson said he became so concerned about the potential impact of such a decision on the downtown business district that he requested a meeting with a bank official.
“I had a meeting yesterday with Stacey Mann, the executive vice president and director of retail banking for Community & Southern, and basically he told me they have not decided yet what buildings they are going to keep,” Thompson told the Barrow Journal on Tuesday.
“He said if they decide not to keep any of them, then the (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.) will be the ones that own it, and they will let me know. They have 90 days to decide and then 90 days to move out.”
Charity Aaron, marketing director of Community & Southern Bank, on Wednesday released the following statement: “Pursuant to our Purchase and Assumption Agreement with the FDIC, Community & Southern has the option to purchase each of the branches and other facilities from the FDIC at fair market value, which is determined by an appraisal. At this time, those appraisals are not complete and, therefore, we are not in a position to make a final determination regarding these facilities. However, we are committed to maintaining a strong presence in Winder and the surrounding communities. To date, Community & Southern has not closed any branches of the banks it has purchased from the FDIC.”
In reference to the retention of employees, her statement added: “Community & Southern is committed to providing outstanding service to its customers and the communities it serves. Our goal is to gain additional market share in each of the counties in which we operate by continuing to serve our customers and our communities with friendliness and southern charm. As such, we place a high value on each of our employees and the roles they play within our organization. As with any business, we will monitor our staffing levels to ensure that we have the appropriate resources to continue to provide the same level of quality service our valued customers have come to expect. If and when any changes are proposed to our current bank locations, we will notify our customers accordingly. Until that time, our customers should rest assured that it is ‘business as usual’ at all of our bank locations."
The FDIC agreement states the bank has 90 days from the day after its Sept. 17 purchase of The Peoples Bank to exercise its exclusive option to purchase the former bank’s premises.
The 90-day period would have begun on Sept. 18 and would end on Dec. 17. An FDIC spokesperson said if the facilities are not acquired by the new banking operation, they would be sold by her agency.