Synovus coastal customer cuts its work force

A longtime commercial customer of Synovus Financial Corp. is cutting its work force sharply because of the slumping economy and real estate market.

Columbus-based Synovus declined Tuesday to discuss Sea Island Co. and its decision to lay off between 300 to 400 employees, as well as any impact the upscale hotel and development firm's business might have on the regional bankholding company.

"Basically we're in a position, as we would always be with a customer, and we just cannot provide any additional information on a customer relationship," said Synovus spokeswoman Alison Dowe.

Sea Island Co., which dates to 1928, is headquartered on the Georgia coast near Brunswick. The firm has developed several ritzy resorts in the area, most notably The Cloister on Sea Island and The Lodge on St. Simons Island. A late-July check of the rates at The Cloister showed rooms averaging between $750 and $1,700 per night.

Monday's announcement by Sea Island Co. that it is eliminating jobs follows the July 7 resignation of Bill Jones, Sea Island Co. chairman and chief executive officer, from the Synovus board of directors.

Read more in Wednesday's Ledger-Enquirer.