Peoples Bank closing Cordova branch
by Jennifer Cohron
Jun 17, 2011 | 4666 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cordova branch of Peoples Bank of Alabama is currently operating out of a trailer behind where the facility stood before April 27. The vault is the only part of the old structure that is still standing. Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
The Cordova branch of Peoples Bank of Alabama is currently operating out of a trailer behind where the facility stood before April 27. The vault is the only part of the old structure that is still standing. Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
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Peoples Bank of Alabama will not be rebuilding in Cordova.

The bank recently sent out a letter informing customers that the local branch, which has been operating in a temporary facility since the April 27 tornadoes, will be closing on Friday, Aug. 26.

Peoples president Chris Sawyer, a Jasper native, said factors such as growth, profitability and competition are considered when making such decisions and that no specific issue was to blame.

“We definitely thought long and hard about it and did a lot of research. We just felt that at this time it was best to go ahead and close that branch,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer added that bank officials considered several alternatives, including moving the branch to another location in Cordova or a neighboring city such as Jasper.

He said that although Peoples had a large, steady market share, there were few opportunities to reach new customers.

“The reality for Cordova is that what we had there is pretty much what we were going to have,” Sawyer said.

Peoples took over the Cordova branch from Regions in 2006.

Since it is the bank’s only location in Walker County, Sawyer said bank officials worked diligently to reopen as soon as possible after the facility was destroyed in the April storms.

The bank operated first out of an armored car and is now in a trailer next to the vault from the old facility, which is the only part of the structure left standing.

Sawyer said most of Peoples’ other 28 locations are found in north Jefferson, Cullman, Morgan and Marshall counties.

The letter sent to customers encourages them to visit Peoples locations in Warrior, Gardendale or Dodge City.

Sawyer said that two employees were working at the Cordova branch before the storm and both have been offered positions at other locations.

The lot is being donated to the city of Cordova.

“It’s almost a whole city block that we have there. We will be donating that to the city, and hopefully that will help them as they are trying to rebuild the city center,” Sawyer said.

A petition to save the bank branch has gotten more than 165 signatures since the decision to close was announced.

Sawyer said Cordova residents have also contacted Peoples through phone calls, letters and Facebook posts.

He said although the communication from customers is appreciated, it will not change the decision.

“We appreciate what they’re saying, which is that we’re doing a good job and they want us to stay. Even with all of that, we have still made the decision and our commitment is that we are going to have to close,” Sawyer said.