Heritage buys AB&T branch in Auburn, Ala.

Len Dorminey

Len Dorminey

ALBANY, Ga. — Heritage Financial Group, holding company for HeritageBank of the South, is purchasing a branch bank in Auburn, Ala., currently owned by AB&T National Bank in Albany.

The transaction involves the branch at 1943 E. Glenn Ave. in Auburn. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

The move marks HeritageBank’s first venture into Alabama following a series of acquisitions in Georgia and north and central Florida.

When the deal is finalized, HeritageBank will gain about $13 million in loans and about $20 million in deposits.

Leonard Dorminey, president and chief executive officer of Heritage Financial Group, said the Auburn-Opelika market is extremely attractive.

“It is highlighted by low unemployment, the cultural and intellectual impact of Auburn University, and the dynamic economic environment associated with the Kia Motors manufacturing plant and related suppliers in the area,” Dorminey said.

Heath Fountain, chief financial officer for Heritage, said the deal involves the real estate where the bank is currently located.

“It’s a small staff, just four employees, but the facility is large and we expect to grow,” Fountain said. “We can add mortgage banking and investment services like we do in our other locations and we have the ability to do that in that facility.”

Fountain said the deal did not necessarily mean further expansion into Alabama, although he did not rule that out.

“We look primarily at opportunities within about a four-hour drive from Albany,” Fountain said. “There are other markets in Alabama that are attractive, but there are other markets in Georgia and Florida that are attractive also.”

Heritage Financial Group now has 21 full-service branch offices, 11 mortgage offices and three investment offices. Total assets are about $1.1 billion.