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Progress Bank on target to open here

By Eric Fleischauer 340-2435

With preliminary approval from the FDIC and half its stock subscriptions sold, an area community bank is on target to open an office at the Union Planters building by January.

Progress Bank (in Organization) announced Thursday it received notification from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. that it may continue pursuing a state banking charter. Last month the State Securities Department authorized the bank to raise capital through sale of stock.

Progress plans to open offices in Decatur and Huntsville, pending receipt of a state banking charter, sale of at least $27 million in shares and final approval from the FDIC.

"We're anxious to open," said Progress Decatur President Bruce Pylant.

"Investors are telling us they see a need for person-to-person banking in the community. I know we feel that way."

David Nast, president and chief executive officer of Progress, said the bank would sell shares to no more than 500 people to avoid more stringent state reporting requirements that higher numbers trigger.

Were making a conscious effort to have a relatively small number of shareholders, and for those shareholders to be in this area, said Pylant.

The business plan requires at least $27 million in capital — $5 million of which came from the 14 senior officers and directors — and would cap at about $35 million. FDICs preliminary approval came after a thorough background check of all 14.

The last possible day for Progress to sell stock is Nov. 16. Nast said he hopes to end sales in October.

The response has been very good, Nast said. Were convinced its the right time for another community bank to be here.

The offering price of the shares is $10, with a minimum of 1,000 and a maximum of 150,000 shares per purchaser.

Letter of intent

Pylant said Progress has signed a letter of intent, and is negotiating a lease for, the first floor of the Union Planters building at 255 Grant St. S.E.

Alabama Farmers Cooperative Inc. owns the building, but an unidentified third party would take ownership before Progress takes possession.

Nast said Progress plans to demolish an existing building before building its Huntsville office at 201 Williams Ave.

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