Arab Alabama says Goodbye to Local Bank

When I came to Arab in 1986, I opened a bank account at Security Bank & Trust two doors down from the office on Main Street.

You see, Al LaGrone, the founder at my firm, was also one of the original founders of the bank. I had a good relationship with all of the bank employees, Sarah and Jimmy to name a few. It was a real pleasure to do business with them. Hometown banking with hometown people that you knew and trusted.

Some years later, Security Bank & Trust was sold to SouthTrust Bank headquartered in Birmingham. SouthTrust built a new building on the 4 lane parkway, moved and changed a lot of the personnel. I still enjoyed doing business with them, Patsy, Mike and Dawn’s mom Doreen to name a few, even though the location was not as convenient for me or my business.

Very soon thereafter, the hometown feel of the bank began to transition to the corporate rules and dictations from Birmingham. Mike struck out on his own to establish Citizens Bank & Trust, a hometown bank in the old building two doors down from the office. I moved my main personal and business accounts there, but also maintained my account with SouthTrust.

Shortly after that, SouthTrust was gobbled up by Wachovia Bank and more changes came. Still I maintained that account there, which I primarily used for online transactions. I very rarely used checks on this account and by the time I ordered Wachovia checks, the bank was sold to Wells Fargo!

Wells Fargo recently announced that the Arab branch of their bank would close for good in May of 2018. So I paid my last visit there today to close my 32 year old bank account. A U-Haul truck was being loaded with furniture and fixtures. It was a little sad, even though they have not been my primary bank for 14 years or more.

There is an old axiom that says, “nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Another says, “change is the only constant in life.” I think both are true.

I’m unsure just how many different banks we have in town, but I’m pretty sure the count rivals that of tax preparation businesses. And time will march on in Arab Alabama, minus one bank.