CB&T closing its Columbus Windsor Village branch in April

Synovus bank among old offices being phased out, with newer ones taking their place

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 24, 2014 

Columbus Bank and Trust customers who are accustomed to using the Windsor Village branch at 3861 Miller Road — near Columbus Airport — will need to go elsewhere starting April 11.

That’s when CB&T plans to close the branch, with customers being advised that the closest banking office in the area at that time will be the Columbus Park Crossing location at 6401 Whittlesey Blvd.

“You do not need to take any action due to the branch closure,” wrote Carolynn Obleton, executive vice president of Branch Banking Group at Synovus, in a recent letter to customers. “If you are a safe deposit box or a night drop customer, we will contact you within 30 days with information on any steps you may need to take regarding these services.”

The Windsor Village office fronts Windsor Park Shopping Center, near Miller Road’s intersection with Moon Road and not far from the main entrance to Columbus Airport.

It is an older branch and one of several that Synovus, CB&T’s parent company, has closed in the market in recent years. However, the bank has opened several as well, including newer locations on Whittlesey Boulevard, Macon Road, Whitesville Road and Buena Vista Road. CB&T of East Alabama on Thirteenth Street in Phenix City also is a newer location.

Synovus spokesman Greg Hudgison said the bank closed two branches in all last year. The company has offices in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.

“We do not have plans to close any additional branches at this time, but we continue to review our branch network to look for opportunities to efficiently deliver our products and services to our customers,” Hudgison said via email.

Synovus has 19 banking offices in the area, with 14 in Columbus (includes retirement complex Spring Harbor), three in Phenix City and two at Fort Benning. There also are walk-up and drive-up ATMs scattered throughout the market.

Branches closed in the past have found new lives. MercyMed, a non-profit health care provider, opened in the former CB&T branch on Second Avenue, while John Paul’s Jewelers moved into the old CB&T branch on Thirteenth Avenue last year.

Synovus, like many U.S. banks, has been recovering from the Great Recession and its excruciating impact on the overall economy. That prompted the company to cut back sharply on expenses in recent years, including branches and employees.

While releasing the company’s 2013 financial report earlier this week, Synovus Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kessel Stelling noted $30 million in expenses were cut last year. And he said the firm is committed to slicing $30 million more.

“They’ll be implemented during 2014 and efforts are under way there,” he said. “We will continue to increase our investments in talent and technology and marketing, so you won’t see the expense reductions dollar for dollar” on the company’s balance sheet.

Stelling also noted the company shed six branches in the Memphis, Tenn., market last weekend. That was done through the completed sale of its Trust One bank properties to Iberiabank Corp., including $90 million in loans and $195 million in deposits.

“We expect to record during the first quarter a net pre-tax gain of approximately $5 million related to this transaction,” the CEO said.

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