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THURSDAY, JANUARY 18, 2007
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Canadian bank moving into city

By Eric Fleischauer
eric@decaturdaily.com 340-2435

Decatur's first Canada-based bank plans to open its doors March 12.

Its footprint will include AmSouth's Danville Road Southwest branch. Whether it will include AmSouth's main branch on Lee Street remains unknown.

RBC Centura, a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada, purchased the Danville Road branch of AmSouth. Absent additional purchases, the branch will be RBC's sole Decatur presence. It plans to retain existing employees at that branch.

The Decatur branch was part of a larger purchase, but RBC officials said they have no plan to sell the branch to someone else.

"We will not sell off the Decatur branch," said Scott Stafford, RBC's president of personal and business banking for Alabama.

"Why would we? It's a great market. We plan to grow the market."

The U.S. Department of Justice required AmSouth to sell its Danville Road Southwest branch, along with 38 other branches in the state, as a condition of its merger with Regions Financial Corp.

It also had to sell another 13 branches in Mississippi and Tennessee.

Most were in Mobile

Most of the Alabama branches AmSouth had to sell were in Mobile — where Stafford is based — and Montgomery. The divestiture included only the one branch in Morgan County. It had to sell five in Madison County.

RBC Centura bought all of the divested Alabama branches.

AmSouth's main branch, on Lee Street, one block from
Regions' main branch, is in limbo.

"I drove by it with people from the market," Stafford said. "They said there's two branches across the street from each other. We know that one of those will be for sale. We would obviously want to know what the cost is."

He said he was not privy to whether RBC is negotiating the purchase of AmSouth's main Decatur branch.

"I have heard that there will be other branches for sale," Stafford said, "and I am sure we will take a look at all locations and determine if any of those fit into where we want to go."

"We have not purchased it at this point," Stafford continued. "I'm sure — I'm assuming — it's going to be a part of some of the branches that Regions and Amsouth are going to sell. We would take a look at any properties like that that are going to make sense for us in those markets. But we have not bought it as of yet."

RBC plans

Stafford said RBC plans to cater to business owners and professionals.

"We train our staff on how to handle those types of consumers and try to be the best in that market," Stafford said.

The 39 Alabama branches purchased by RBC are just the beginning, Stafford said.

"We would not have bought the 39 if we were planning on ending with 39," Stafford said. "Northern Alabama is a key market for us."

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