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Downtown Regions branch saved by city's request

Regions Bank had already scheduled the closing of its downtown Thomson branch at the end of December as part of a company-wide reorganization.

But those in charge didn't take into consideration that Thomson is working to revitalize its downtown. After reconsidering the decision with those facts in mind, the Regions Branch on Main Street will remain open.

"The city and the county have a lot of plans for downtown Thomson that we were unaware of," said Central Georgia Bank of Regions President Jimmy Rigsby. "We concluded that in the best interest of the bank and the city that we would step back and not do anything at the present time."

A letter from Thomson City Administrator Bob Flanders discussed the city and county's business with the bank which encompasses several million dollars. It also detailed the plans to spruce up the area and stated that the bank location was a large part of making downtown a more attractive destination for shoppers.

"What I put in the letter was the important position that the Regions Bank played in the downtown area, and what a key place that it was in, in terms of our long range development planning area," Mr. Flanders said.

The fact that construction on Main Street from a Transportation Enhancement Grant will begin in January helped sway Regions executives. Also the fact that the proposed city-county government complex would be in close proximity to the current branch played a part in the decision, Mr. Rigsby said.

"Just based on what the reaction was with the plans of what they've got for downtown, it just made sense for us to leave the thing running as it is and see what they're going to do," Mr. Rigsby said. "Then we can adjust our own buildings and so forth to what they're planning on doing with the whole downtown area."

City officials met with Regions executives after the letter was received. Mr. Flanders said officials were pleased with the decision that will leave the bank in its current location as well as keep the current employees in place.

"I think their decision is a vote of confidence that we have a program that's going forward here," Mr. Flanders said. "They are at least stopping long enough to see if they can't become part of that process. They obviously have reversed a corporate decision that would have changed the way banking is done in Thomson and McDuffie County."



Web posted on Thursday, November 3, 2005











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