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CB&T closing 8 branches in Northeast Georgia

Bank planning to expand office on E.E. Butler Parkway

POSTED: August 13, 2011 12:04 a.m.

Community Bank & Trust is closing eight of its bank branches in Northeast Georgia, including two offices in Hall County.

The CB&T branch on Aviation Boulevard will close in November, and the branch at Walmart in Oakwood will shut down in January, said Jeff Fulp, the bank's market president.

"These are essentially consolidations to allow for us to more efficiently manage our branch network," Fulp said.
In addition to the closings, CB&T is expanding its remaining Hall County location on E.E. Butler Parkway.

"We are going to significantly expand, renovate and change pretty drastically the aesthetics of our office on E.E. Butler," he said.

The changes will include adding mortgage banking and commercial banking units and more square footage.

The outside stucco facade will be replaced with brick, Fulp said.

Early plans have been drawn up for the renovations, and the bank will stay open during the expansion, Fulp said.

The eight branch closings will affect about 40 employees. Those employees will have "first priority," to find new positions among available jobs.

"We're adding additional positions back to the remaining offices," he said.

CB&T will also close the Demorest, Clarkesville, Cleveland and Commerce branches located in Ingle's grocery stores, one in Commerce at Quality Food and one at Jefferson Bell's Food.

"It's sort of a proactive measure. Our company's very, very financially sound ... from an efficiency perspective, we can better serve our customers by enhancing our staffing levels in the remaining offices," Fulp said.

Hall County has two other CB&T branches at J&J Foods on Limestone Parkway and Kroger in North Hall.

CB&T is also beginning a site search for a branch location in Athens, Fulp added.

CB&T is owned by South Carolina Bank and Trust of Orangeburg, S.C., which acquired it in early 2010.

The bank closed 10 Northeast Georgia stores in April of that year; most of those were located inside grocery stores.

In May, former Community Bank & Trust executive Randy Jones was sentenced to 10 years in prison for bank fraud after he used friends and family members to swindle millions of dollars in kickbacks from crooked land use deals and illicit bank loans.

His crimes also helped lead to the demise of CB&T.

South Carolina Bank and Trust bought the failed bank in early 2010 and reopened it under the same name.



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