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National Bank of Georgia buys former GB&T headquarters
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The National Bank of Georgia has purchased the former headquarters of Gainesville Bank & Trust and will begin operations there later this month.

NBG, based in Athens, has had an office in Gainesville since late 2007. The company had also operated a South Hall location on Spout Springs Road that closed in February. That property has been sold to a developer to make way for a new location for Walgreens, the national pharmacy chain.

Billy Glosson, regional president for NBG, opened an office in Wachovia Center primarily as a business banking center. He believes the move to the larger facility will attract more consumer banking customers.

"We’ve built a pretty solid foundation of business in a short period of time," Glosson said. "With the opportunity for our new building, we felt that it was a natural progression."

The three-story former Gainesville Bank & Trust building at 500 Jesse Jewell Parkway was vacated last summer when GB&T completed its merger with SunTrust. The building was jointly owned by businessman Don Carter and GB&T.

After the half-interest in the building was acquired by SunTrust, the building was eventually sold to an enterprise belonging to Gainesville attorney W.A. "Dub" Bagwell and his family.

Subsequently, they sold the building to NBG.

The building currently has one tenant, the district office of U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, occupying a portion of the third floor.

Glosson said the bank will only use the first floor, with its teller lines and vault facilities, in addition to a number of private offices.

He said the bank plans to lease the second floor and already has identified some prospective occupants.

Finding an existing building that is already equipped for a bank was beneficial, he said. "It is so much more economical," Glosson said. "We looked at several sites around town to build a free-standing building. To go into a building that has already been operated as a bank, you wouldn’t believe how advantageous it is for us."

He said the building, which served as GB&T’s first and only headquarters, is still identified as a bank building. "We felt like there was some synergy," he said. "The traffic patterns are good and people identify that building as a local financial institution."

He said the bank will open later this month and a grand opening will take place sometime in late May. He expects to add three or four new employees.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. report on bank market share, the National Bank of Georgia ranked 15th of 18 banks in Hall County in terms of deposits with $6.2 million as of June 30, 2008. In Athens, the bank ranked sixth among 18 banks in the market with $167.4 million in deposits.

The National Bank of Georgia was formed in 1999 and opened for business in May 2000. The bank is headed by executives who previously worked for larger regional banks.

Prior to joining NBG in 2007, Glosson was associated for 15 years with Gainesville Bank & Trust, where he served as a senior vice president. Prior to that, he was employed by First National Bank of Gainesville, the predecessor to Regions Bank.