Canadian Bank Buys Select AmSouth Branches

A new bank is setting up shop in Alabama -- a by-product of the recent AmSouth-Regions merger.

To comply with federal regulations, AmSouth is selling off 39 of its branches to RBC Centura, the American division of the Royal Bank of Canada, based in North Carolina.

The AmSouth branches on Taylor Road, Eastern Boulevard, and Atlanta Highway are the three Montgomery offices being sold. Branches in Prattville, Wetumpka, Millbrook, Selma, Mobile, Huntsville and Tuscaloosa will also change names.

Many of the affected AmSouth branches are within walking distance of existing Regions banks. That's not allowed with the AmSouth-Regions merger, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

"What they have done is identify those branches that we need to get rid of," said AmSouth-Regions Vice President Russ Dunman.

Dunman says AmSouth-Regions can only control a specified percentage of the market.

Customers of the affected branches may have to change their account numbers, but the branch staffs and services will remain the same.

"We don't think anyone will see a difference in the level of service that they have. It's a name change," Dunman said.

Many former AmSouth customers have received promotional materials in the mail from RBC Centura Bank telling them that their accounts will be converted as of March 9th.

Anna Buckalew of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce says RBC Centura is a reputable firm.

"We have not met with company officials, but all indications are that it's a very good corporation and they'll be a very good corporate citizen," Buckalew said.

But what if you're an AmSouth customer who doesn't want to bank with RBC?

According to federal regulations, your accounts are no longer owned by Amsouth-Regions and you can't go back.

When RBC Centura bought the branches, AmSouth-Regions promised to deliver the associated accounts as well.

"Obviously, we can't tell anyone where they can or can't bank, except in this case, we can't knowingly open another account for them," said Dunman.

You CAN move your account to another bank in town. But Amsouth-Regions officials encourage their former customers to give the new company a try.

"It's a good bank," Dunman said.

Reporter: Mark Bullock