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FLB begins new era in Camellia City

The new branch of the First Lowndes Bank opened Monday to an enthusiastic crowd of well-wishers.

Allen Bowen, vice president and branch manager, welcomed those in attendance and paid homage to being back in his "hometown.&uot;

&uot;I get to come home after 30 years,&uot; he said.

&uot;We’re glad to be here.&uot;

Bowen thanked his board of directors for believing in the idea of putting a branch in Greenville.

He also thanked the staff for their hard work in getting the bank open.

He said the branch is unique because it is locally owned.

&uot;It is the first bank that has a board that is located here,&uot; he said.

&uot;Our board is made up of local people.&uot;

He said this makes FLB easily available for loans.

&uot;That allows us to give faster service because we don’t have to call some other city to get approval,&uot; he said.

&uot;We make those decisions here.&uot;

Bowen said Tuesday afternoon the city’s help in getting the bank set up was outstanding.

&uot;They were all very helpful,&uot; he said.

&uot;Anytime we needed to get something approved like permits, they were there to help, to make sure everything was right.&uot;

Mayor Dexter McClendon welcomed the new branch’s board of directors and staff to Greenville and wished them much success.

Afterwards he cut the ceremonial ribbon officially opening the bank for business.

He said the facility is much welcomed.

&uot;We welcome them to our city,&uot; he said.

&uot;I believe they are coming in at a good time when good things are happening for us here.

Their timing is good because of the growth we expect to have in the coming years.&uot;

McClendon said he is proud to have them here and expressed how pleased he was with the bank’s look.

&uot;It is pretty,&uot; he said.

Bowen said the building’s design is based on the First Lowndes Bank in Fort Deposit.

He credited HCH Construction from Hope Hull with the design and particularly Sammy Hester for the building process.

Bowen said after the grand opening the staff stayed busy all day.

&uot;We had people trying to come in after we closed and they were very patient and said they would return today (Tuesday), he said.

Peggy Pouncey, of Greenville, wasted no time in visiting the new bank.

&uot;I feel good about the new First Lowndes Bank opening in Greenville,&uot; she said.

&uot;I’m shopping here today because they have better interest rates. I’m glad to have the additional competition with the local banks.&uot;

Debbie Heartsill, of Greenville, a five-year customer of First Lowndes Bank is glad for convenience.

&uot;I would make the drive to Fort Deposit to the bank every Saturday morning, so I’m very glad to have a branch here in town,&uot; she said.

Michael Ray echoed the convenience sentiment.

&uot;I’ve been banking with them for a long time, off and on,&uot; he said.

&uot;It helps a lot to have a branch here in Greenville. It makes it very convenient. I live in Braggs, but I come to Greenville a lot because I work here, so this is great for me. I used to make the drive from Braggs to Fort Deposit.&uot;

Bowen said customers would recognize some of the people at the new branch including Suanne Lewis.

Lewis has worked for the past 22 years at the Peoples Bank and also at Colonial.

Another familiar face is Cindy Smith, who customers will recognize from the Fort Deposit branch of the First Lowndes Bank.

Also, Joby Norman, who recently left the Peoples Bank, will serve as loan officer, along with Bowen, at the new branch.

First Lowndes Bank operates branches in Hayneville, Highland Home, Greenville and is home based in Fort Deposit.