Whitney Bank officials have confirmed that the downtown branch will cease to exist when it relocates its regional headquarters to River Ranch at the end of May.

Whitney 140311 9564 RMay  
   
Whitney Bank's Lafayette HQ for the past three decades, the Lee Avenue
branch downtown will close May 30.
 

The downtown branch on Lee Avenue has served as the bank’s regional HQ for about 30 years, and will close for good effective May 30, says Duayne Richard, president of the bank’s Western Louisiana region.

The good news, says Richard, is that no employees will lose their jobs as a result of the relocation, though some may be moved to other branches throughout the area.

The five-story building on Lee Avenue is up for sale, and according to Richard, a deal is in the works, though he wouldn’t comment on any specifics or the name of the potential buyer.

“The Lee Avenue building just wasn’t conducive anymore and didn’t lend itself to the new way of modern day banking,” Richard tells ABiz. “The new River Ranch location will be full-service, offering everything from a branch to commercial and corporate lending to private banking, trust and treasury management, insurance, the whole product.”

The new regional HQ will occupy two of the four floors of the 50,000-square-foot Camellia Tover V in River Ranch — a $10 million development located on the corner of Camellia and Settlers Trace boulevards across the street from the bank’s existing River Ranch branch, which is also slated for closure.

“I really view the move to River Ranch as a positive for Lafayette, and it shows that our holding company recognizes our growth in this market and our fine customer base, and that they want to see us continue that growth,” says Whitney’s Lafayette Market President Bill Hendrix, who succeeded Richard in November after Richard's promotion to regional president. “We’ll have state-of-the-art technology and video equipment, a board room and a regional training center all consolidated in that one building.”

Richard says the nearby Oil Center location will remain open and is expected to pick up some of the downtown business.

camellia tower v 2 brochure large  
Design by Pecot & Company Architects/Rendering by Chris LeBlanc  
Whitney Bank is relocating its new regional HQ to River Ranch in May.  

Following last year’s closures of a number of branches in Alexandria, Richard says more revenue was freed up for the Lafayette market, which could mean additional branch openings in the future.

“Closing those branches in Alexandria allows us to reallocate money to high growth areas, and with Lafayette and the growth we’ve seen here, we’re looking at areas where we have voids and places we’d like to possibly relocate,” says Richard. “Also, we have some branches that are really close geographically, and we’re looking to relocating some branches where it makes more sense.”

Though Richard wouldn’t elaborate on the specifics of those plans, he did say a continued expansion is in store for Lafayette.

Richard says Whitney hopes to be in its new River Ranch offices before May 30.

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