The constant whir of cars speeding on the nearby road may have served as a reminder to Citizens Bank of Effingham officials why they chose to expand to Port Wentworth.
Bank and community leaders cut the ribbon on their newest location at the junctures of Highways 21 and 30, six miles from the Effingham County line. But the location may allow them to reach thousands more customers.
“There’s an awful lot of people who come by here who never go toward Rincon or Springfield,” Citizens Bank president Michael Lee said. “This gets us in front of a part of our population we are not in front of today. We think this location fits into our business plan and makes sense.”
Lee estimated 30,000-40,000 cars pass by the new Citizens Bank branch every day. He made note of the more than 8,000 people who live within a five-mile radius of the bank and the developments either under way or planned.
“The population of this area has the potential to double, and we think that is good for the banking business,” he said.
Lee said there had been talks about opening in west Chatham since he joined the bank in 2002.
“This has been a vision of ours for a long time,” bank chairman of the board Harry Shearouse said.
Judy Triplett, widow of the late Tom Triplett, a former state representative who also helped found Citizens Bank, said it was part of her late husband’s dream to open in west Chatham.
“Tom really enjoyed his association with this bank,” she said. “He was so excited when we purchased this property and knew they would put a bank here. This is a perfect location.”
Bank leaders were always impressed with the number of people Triplett knew in Atlanta and around the state.
“We relied heavily on Tom’s vision,” Shearouse said. “He had a dream and a vision of what we’re doing — establishing a bank in west Chatham and Port Wentworth. We will be forever grateful for Tom and his leadership.”
Mosley, who grew up in the Port Wentworth area, never thought something like this would happen.
“If you had told me 30 years ago that on this little two-lane road between Rincon and Garden City there would be a bank here, I don’t know if I would have had much confidence in that,” she said. “We’re excited to be here.”
Mosley will lead the new branch and Glenn Weston is joining her to be the commercial lending officer. Mosley believes the staff that’s been assembled will work together well in Citizens Bank’s new venture.
“Watching them work together in the spirit of cooperation under some intense moments shows me we are a good, solid team,” she said.
About Citizens Bank’s Port Wentworth location
• Size – 7,600 square feet
• Open house – Aug. 3