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Bank of the Ozarks to close two locations
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Come mid-December, two Dawsonville Bank of the Ozarks locations will close, leaving only one of their branches open for business.

According to Susan Blair, Bank of the Ozarks executive vice president, the bank is closing its downtown location near the post office at 500 Hwy. 53 East, as well as its Ga. 400 location at 4300 Dawson Forest Road East, by the new Publix shopping center.

The last day of operation for both banks will be Dec. 16.

Blair said that the banks will be consolidated into one branch, and the main building at 6639 Hwy. 53 East, next to Sonic will be the only Bank of the Ozarks location in Dawsonville. The other two properties will be marketed and placed for sale.

"The decision to consolidate two of our banking offices in Dawsonville into our Dawsonville office at 6639 Hwy. 53 East was carefully considered," Blair said. "The decision to close an office is never an easy one, and this was no exception. We are reluctant to close any office because of the inconvenience it may pose to our customers."

Many factors, including the close proximity of the offices were considered in making our decision," Blair said. "We are committed to continuing to provide the same level of outstanding service at the 6639 Hwy. 53 East office to which all of our Dawsonville customers are accustomed. We look forward to serving Dawsonville customers with outstanding products, services and convenience, in addition to the synergies of a larger team with additional expertise."

According to Blair, the bank mailed its customers letters notifying them of the closing, and employees have also been notified.

Russell Hewatt, senior vice president of Bank of the Ozarks in Dawsonville, said Monday that he is not authorized to give out any information about the consolidation, including plans for the current employees.

The downtown bank was originally owned by Chestatee State Bank but was acquired in 2010 by Bank of the Ozarks.

Bank of the Ozarks merged with Community and Southern banks in Oct. 2015, acquiring their $800 million in assets and bringing the Dawson Forest Road branch under their name.

At the time, no information was known if any of the branches would be affected or consolidated.
In October 2015, George Gleason, chairman of the board and Bank of the Ozarks CEO, described the combination of the two banks as "a hand in glove fit."

"Our customers in Georgia and Florida will benefit from our great combined team, our expanded network of banking offices and enhanced services," he said.