By STEVEN NALLEY
A BancorpSouth spokesman confirmed that of 23 branches slated for closure, none are in Starkville.
On May 10, BancorpSouth issued a press release announcing a “Branch Optimization Plan” that included the closure and consolidation of 23 branches across six of the eight states where the bank operates. While BancorpSouth has yet to release the exact list of closing locations, Senior Vice President and Marketing Director Randy Burchfield said Starkville was not on that list.
Burchfield said he could not yet confirm the status of eight other banks within a 30-mile radius of Starkville, including branches in Columbus, West Point, Louisville and Hamilton. He said he did not anticipate closures of any of those branches impacting Starkville.
“That doesn’t say one way or the other whether those locations are closing,” Burchfield said. “I just don’t think that will be a situation that will have any impact on Starkville. I don’t think that has any impact on customers, except that those locations are closing from a logistics standpoint.”
A BancorpSouth press release said the company determined which locations to close with a comprehensive internal study that looked at both financial and non-financial factors. Burchfield said the study began about nine months ago and includes more than 60 indicators of branch performance, including transactions, deposits, loans and staff efficiency.
“No set number of locations were predetermined going in,” Burchfield said. “There was a very detailed model we worked off of. It was based on a broad range of criteria.”
The press release said by the fourth quarter of 2011, the closings would begin to save BancorpSouth $4.4 million annually. Burchfield said neither these savings nor the $3 million cost of the closings would impact customers.
The press release also said BancorpSouth has opened 39 new branches in the last five years. Burchfield said those newer locations were less likely to close, but he did not rule them out completely.
“You get into situations where a new location gets in and it may have created some, I don’t want to say “overlap,” but things change, and you look at your footprint, ever-changing markets and things of that nature,” Burchfield said.
Burchfield said employees at the 23 closing branches were very likely to be hired back at other branches nearby in similar, but not necessarily identical, positions.
“The intent is not to eliminate those employees’ positions with the bank,” Burchfield said. “Whether they’re doing exactly what they were doing, that’s something that will have to be worked out.”