DG Bank preps for name changes

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 13, 2000

Local Deposit Guaranty Bank president Kevin Smith says his bank’s name will change in two weeks, but not the familiar faces inside.

&uot;Our signage will change officially on March 20,&uot; Smith said. &uot;In fact, the only thing that is changing is the name of the bank. That’s when we’ll actually roll out the AmSouth welcome mat.&uot;

Deposit Guaranty, which operates three branches in Natchez, and its parent company, First American (NYSE: FAM) are merging with Birmingham, Ala.-based AmSouth Bancorporation (NYSE: ASO) in a $6.3 billion deal.

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Smith said customers shouldn’t be affected by the name change, but should be able to reap the benefits of having branches of the 19th largest bank in the nation here in Natchez.

&uot;It brings an array of different products — $43 billion in total assets,&uot; he said. &uot;It brings that down to a local level.&uot;

Deposit Guaranty Bank has been in Natchez since 1970 when the company purchased the old City Bank and Trust Company.

As of last week, most of the Deposit Guaranty logos have been removed from the building in anticipation for the new AmSouth emblems.

And with those new emblems comes the same employee base that has served the Natchez community for years, Smith said.

Though many people normally think of jobs being cut during a merger of this kind, in fact several positions have been added in Natchez. Smith said about five new positions have been added since the acquisition was announced June 1, 1999.

The extra positions were in both service and management capacities, Smith said, adding the additions were necessary to fulfill the higher specifications AmSouth required.

&uot;We’re very proud of the fact that, although we’re a large bank, most of our employees are long-term employees of the bank,&uot; Smith said. &uot;People in the community know these people, live with these people.&uot;

In preparation for the official switch over date, bank employees have set up a &uot;training bank&uot; behind-the-scenes at each Natchez branch.

The training banks operate on AmSouth’s computer system and allow employees to learn the system before the actual changeover occurs.

&uot;Each branch manager has gone through 130 hours of training,&uot; Smith said.

After the merger, AmSouth Bancorporation, will have 680 branches in nine Southeastern states with leading market positions in Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.

The company also will have the largest ATM network in the Southeast with 1,350 ATMs.

&uot;This outstanding combination of two complementary and compatible banking organizations offers compelling strategic and financial benefits,&uot; said C. Dowd Ritter, AmSouth chairman and CEO.

So far some of the bank’s departments such as the mortgage area have already switched over to the new AmSouth systems.

&uot;We don’t expect any problems,&uot; Smith said. &uot;It’s business as usual.&uot;