New bank opens in city, another adding branch and pet store moving

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May 13—The former Wells Fargo building in downtown Decatur, vacant for almost four years, will soon be home to another bank.

Prattville-based River Bank and Mortgage is leasing one floor of the three-story building at 254 E. Moulton St., new Decatur Market President Ashton Dement said this week.

"Right now, we're mobile banking while we wait for our certificate of occupancy from the city," Dement said. "We expect to move into the second floor in about two weeks."

Dement said River Bank plans to use the second floor while the contractor renovates the first floor. The renovation is expected to take six to nine months, he said. At that point the bank will vacate the second floor and move to the first floor. Dement said the bank will have 10 to 12 employees.

Wells Fargo closed its Decatur bank in August 2017. In 2019, the Alabama Community College System had a contract to purchase the 19,413-square-foot building for $800,000, but it backed out of the deal.

Birmingham-based Southpace Properties listed the building, built in 1959, for $899,000. Land Services LLC, run by Jeff Parker, bought the building in 2019. Parker could not be reached for comment.

The Morgan County Revenue Office appraised the value of the building and property at $2.17 million in 2020.

Crystal Brown, vice president of retail and residential development for the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, said River Bank is filling the highly visible spot on the corner of East Moulton Street and Fourth Avenue Northeast at the right time.

"They will benefit from that location with all of the new growth in the city and area," Brown said.

A Decatur native and president of the Decatur High Athletic Booster Club, Dement joined River Bank in March.

Dement has a 30-year career in finance, specializing in mortgages, business lending and private banking. He previously worked nine years for Renaissance Bank, almost five years for First American Bank and had brief stints at Bank Independent, Heritage Bank and Regions Bank.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for Ashton," Brown said. "We know him well in this community."

bayne.hughes@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2432. Twitter @DD_BayneHughes.

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