SIB opens Florala branch

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Southern Independent Bank has branched out in Covington County, opening a new location in Florala this past week.

Florala branch manager and native Rhonda Geohagan said that she was ecstatic when she heard the news that they were going to open a Florala branch.

“I have been in banking for 40 years and have spent the past eight with Southern Independent Banking,” Geohagan said. “I knew when I started being a part of SIB that Florala needed a bank like this. So, when I heard the news I was just so excited.”

She said that several of the locals in Florala have wanted SIB to add the location.

“They were begging us to come down,” Geohagan said. “They are just so excited for us to open. They have been pledging their support to us and we are excited to have a long relationship with the citizens in Florala.”

There are several things that Geohagan said that she is looking forward to with this new branch.

“We are hoping to attract deposits,” Geohagan said. “That way we can build up a deposit base for the branch. We are also hoping to pick up some loans from Florala and the outlying areas. We have a loan officer with about as much experience as I do. So, she will help out in that aspect.”

So far, Geohagan said that the branch has been running smoothly since its soft opening last Thursday.

“We had to wait for the building to be placed there and for the computer systems to get up and running,” Geohagan said. “Everything has been running pretty smoothly for the most part. We had some people show up to the soft opening and there has been a pretty steady stream of people for the most part.”

SIB president Micah Garner said that Florala is a great opportunity for the community bank.

“Florala does not have a community bank currently,” Garner said. “So, we felt like it was a good opportunity to have a good hometown community bank in Covington County. We will be able to expand our footprint and be able to serve the customers in the county.”

One of the main things that Garner said he is looking forward to is building relationships.

“We pride ourselves on building relationships,” Garner said. “We are excited to be involved in the community and provide a service to the people of Covington County, Florala and the surrounding areas of Florala.”

Senior Vice President of the Opp SIB branch Brett Ballard said that the community in Florala has given positive feedback.

“It has been really refreshing,” Ballard said. “The reaction that we have gotten from the community in Florala has been completely positive. When we had our groundbreaking ceremony, there were several people there to support us. The mayor came out and there was just a huge crowd.”

Ballard said that the opening of the location rounds out the rest of the county.

“With us being in Opp and Andalusia, we felt like Florala was a natural progression,” Ballard said. “We have been open for about 12 years, so for me, personally, I felt like it was a natural progression for us to make our first branch in the county. I think it is a win-win for us and the people of Florala.”

The bank’s official address is 23167 Fifth Avenue, more commonly known as the corner of Ala., Hwy., 55 and U.S. 331.

They are currently operating out of a 28 by 76 feet, modular unit, with the hopes to one day construct a permanent building.