• 43°

Downtown bank will close; move to U.S. 80\

Community Bank customers in Demopolis may have received a notice in the mail about Community Bank closing its downtown branch. Assistant Vice President Lisa Walters said the news is true, but should not be considered bad news.

“We’re looking at this as a positive thing,” Walters said. “We’re going to have a bigger and better place in the Super Wal-Mart.”

The downtown branch will close April 30, and all operations will be shifted to the Highway 80 location, as will all personnel from the downtown location.

“We’ll be concentrating all our employees to the location on Highway 80,” Walters said. “It’s for the better.”

Walters said the move was primarily to better serve existing customers.

“The majority of our customer traffic is on the highway because it has a drive-through,” she said. “Downtown parking is limited and we don’t have a drive-through here.”

She said a handful of customers are located downtown and use the downtown branch, but the heavier concentration of customers is at the highway location.

The move, she said, will mean better response for customers and a more economical and efficient bank.

“We’re excited about the move,” she said.

Though the closing of any downtown business is not music to his ears, Jay Shows, director of the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce, said he understands the bank’s decision.

“Obviously it’s disappointing for any local business or merchant to move from downtown, but it makes sense,” Shows said.

He said the intense competition and limitations of the downtown location make the move a sensible idea.

As for the closing’s effect on downtown Demopolis, Shows said hopefully the bank will sell the building, allowing another business to better utilize that location.

“I think it would be a great location for a mortgage company or insurance office,” Shows said.

While the chamber does not act as a real estate broker, Shows said he and his staff are always willing to work with downtown building owners and help pass along information that could help them sell or lease a building.

“I tell building owners that I’m not a real estate agent, but I will do everything I can to help them in any way possible,” Shows said. “Anytime I get a call from someone looking to locate a business here, I am always happy to pass on information on available buildings downtown.”