Heritage Bank is downsizing operations, including closing a branch, adjusting hours of operation for some branches and laying off a significant number of employees, according to public relations director John Crowley.
No information on the number of employees being laid off was available at press time. The bank will close a branch on Fort Stewart.
Crowley noted, however, the branch closing actually has little to do with the workforce reduction.
“The branch we’re closing effective May 15 is the one inside Fort Stewart’s (post exchange),” Crowley said. “We have three branches on Fort Stewart that are in close proximity of each other. The PX is doing some renovation inside the store, and there’ll no longer be space for us there.”
Crowley said their other two branches on Stewart and the branch at Hunter Army Airfield will remain open. He said they have adjusted operating hours of many of their branches. In Liberty County, he said Saturday banking hours will continue at all branches except the Fort Stewart main office.
Regarding the “significant workforce reduction,” Crowley released an official statement by the bank’s board of directors explaining the decision for the layoffs:Delete-Merge Up
“Restructuring the bank is imperative and gives us the opportunity to survive, win and compete in our industry … The changes that occurred will allow us to be leaner, nimbler and more profitable.”
The board’s statement said that during the last three months, the directors have “fundamentally re-thought every aspect” of the business, and they will continue to consider every option that allows the bank to succeed.
“One of our most urgent priorities has been expense management,” the board said. “To achieve that success, workforce reduction was a necessary next step.”
Noting the decision to eliminate jobs was difficult, the board’s statement concluded with praise for those employees losing their jobs for all they have done to contribute to the bank.