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CBT changes name to South State Bank

POSTED: June 30, 2014 2:08 p.m.
Zac Taylor/Barrow County News

The branch in Winder already had the new signs up by Friday afternoon.

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Two Barrow bank branches recently changed names.

Community Bank & Trust, which operates two Winder branches, changed its signs Friday afternoon prior to the end of the work day to reflect the new name chosen by the parent company.

The bank announced recently that, after a long process of gathering input from both community members as well as employees of all of the banks under the SCBT umbrella (CBT’s parent company based in Columbia, S.C.), all of the banks would be renamed South State Bank.

A member of one of the local branches is assuring her customers that the name is the only change.

"It’s important that customers understand, we have not been bought by another company," said AVP/loan officer Candy Greene, who works at the main Winder branch. "What I’ve heard from customers is, as long as bankers aren’t changing, they don’t care what the name is."

However, the new name could come in handy if a Barrow resident has a work trip or vacation in say, North or South Carolina or even Savannah.

Up until now, CBT customers have been able to bank at other banks under the CBT brand, like South Carolina Bank and Trust, Savannah Bank, First Federal or North Carolina Bank and Trust, but not everyone knew that was the case. Now, with every branch having the same name, they will, noted Donna Pullen, a senior vice president at the company.

"The main reason was to bring all those brands together under one unified name," she said. "People may not realize when vacationing they can use that branch."

The tough aspect of the name change is making sure not to alter the perception of the banks as being around for a long time. CBT has been around since 1900, for instance, and a number of the other area banks have been around a similar length of time as well.

Pullen said the idea then was to come up with a name that, while not in use anywhere in the country, would nonetheless have the feel of a name that would have been around 100 years ago, when these banks were.

That criteria made it easy to whittle down a list of 357 submitted names down to just five, and then to the winning entry. CBT then bussed all 2,200 employees to its headquarters to reveal the new name.

"It was developed in house, not from an outside group," Greene noted. "For me, I was just looking for an opportunity to really distinguish ourselves from our competitors, and I think we’ve done that with our name."

Of course, Greene’s main concern is maintaining that same level of service with those same employees regardless of what the name is, and in that regard she feels good about the local branches.

"We have four people who have been here 11 years," she said, "and only a couple less than two years; the majority have been with our company awhile, served in this market."



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