First Cahawba marks five years

Published 8:51 pm Monday, September 10, 2012

First Cahawba Bank president and CEO Catesby Jones, left, talks with John Clark, former president of AmSouth Bank in Selma during First Cahawba’s customer appreciation event Monday. Jones worked for Clark during his time at AmSouth. -- Tim Reeves

First Cahawba Bank, the only locally owned bank in Selma celebrated five years and 5,000 deposit accounts on Monday with an open house for friends and customers.

“It’s hard to believe we’ve been open for five years,” Catesby Jones, First Cahawba president and CEO said Monday. “It was Sept. 10, 2007, when we opened, and since that time it’s been awesome.”

First Cahawba was created by a group of organizers who saw a need for a community bank, Jones said.

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“We saw the need to form a community bank because we felt like things were moving towards the impersonal side, and we wanted to be able to do banking the way it should be,” Jones said.

“Banking the way it should be” is the bank’s slogan, and the reason, Jones said, people should bank with them.

“This is what ‘banking the way it should be’ means to us,” Jones said. “That’s keeping customer service and satisfaction our number one priority, respecting our customer, being responsive to their needs and being able to resolve problems locally and in a timely manner.

“In short,” he added, “it means treating our customers the way we would want to be treated.”

Their customer service is what Jones feels sets First Cahawba apart.

“The employees here are the best, absolutely,” he said.

Many of them have been with First Cahawba since they opened five years ago, which creates a more stable environment and Jones said is great for the customers.

“The customers know the [employees], and they know the customers,” Jones said. “That’s one of the advantages of having a staff that’s been with you for a while.”

Jones said their are plans for growth.

“We are looking to expand our footprint,” he said. “We don’t know exactly what we’re going to do, but we do know that it’s going to be slow and try to grow profitably.”

Growth is an area First Cahawba is familiar with. The bank moved into their building in April of 2009.

“Before [we moved into this building] we were right next door in a double-wide trailer. It was pretty neat though,” Jones said with a smile.

He mentioned most of the growth the bank has seen came since the move.

“I think the trailer may have given people the perception that, ‘maybe they’re not going to be here long,’” Jones said. “So the building sort of gave us some permanency, where people would look at us and say, ‘they are for real; they’re going to be around.’”

Jones said since they’ve been in their main building on Citizens Parkway, “we’ve probably averaged around 100 new accounts per month.”

“We’ve been very fortunate to have the support of friends and customers around Selma and Dallas County,” Jones said. “It’s been very successful. We’ve been very, very fortunate.”

First Cahawba has offices on Citizens Parkway and Alabama Avenue, as well as a loan production office in Troy.