published Saturday, June 1st, 2013

BB&T to close Etowah bank branch

BB&T bank will close its 49-year-old Etowah, Tenn., branch at the end of the summer, company officials confirmed Friday.

Etowah residents will need to drive between seven and 10 miles to either Englewood or Athens to visit a BB&T branch after Aug. 23, when the Etowah branch shuts down. The decision to close was based on a myriad of factors, Mike Willett, BB&T regional president for Tennessee said in a prepared statement.

"For several years, BB&T has reviewed the business strength of our financial center in Etowah, Tenn.," he said. "Based on many factors, including client usage patterns, the decision was made to close the branch."

BB&T has four locations in McMinn County, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Etowah location had $27.8 million in deposits last year. That's more than the Englewood branch, which recorded $18.5 million in deposits.

Etowah Vice Mayor Charles Slack said he's disappointed to see the bank pulling out of the city.

"I hate it anytime we lose a business out of our town," he said. "We're trying to get our town built up. They were an asset to our city and I hate that they're leaving."

The company declined to say how many employees will be affected by the change, although Willet said the bank will try to place associates in other comparable positions within the company and offer severance packages to those who can't move. BB&T has 1,859 offices across the country, according to the FDIC.

Etowah Mayor Jimmy Bull said he does his banking with BB&T and he's not looking forward to making the extra drive to a neighboring town. But, he added, the city has three other banks in town, so the long-term impact of the closing will be minimal.

"Anytime you lose jobs there is an impact on families and the city," he said. "But this is not a devastating impact."

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at sbradbury@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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