Banks plan full operations Tuesday

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Area banks say they should be up and fully operational byTuesday morning, barring any other electrical problems associatedwith Hurricane Katrina.

Chris Thurman, president of Trustmark National Bank inBrookhaven, said Friday that the bank’s office and Highland Squarebranch were fully operational. He said he hoped to have the LincolnPlaza branch up and running Tuesday, provided it haselectricity.

“We have cash and can get cash,” said Thurman, squelching rumorsthat banks would run out of money.

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All of the area’s banks, including Trustmark, State Bank andTrust Co., Bank of Brookhaven, First Bank and Regions Bank, saidthat direct deposits are being credited to accounts as normal andautomated teller machines are operational where electricity isavailable.

Richard Furr, city president of Brookhaven’s State Bank andTrust said Friday only the main office was open here. The Brookwayand Eastside branches were both without power, but Furr said hehoped they would be operational by Tuesday.

“We have plenty of cash on hand, and our commercial customersare depositing plenty of cash,” said Furr, who also wanted tosuppress rumors concerning the availability of money.

“Our only issue is the lack of power and gasoline,” he said.”But the bank is fine and operational.”

He said currently the bank is not cashing checks for out-of-towncustomers unless an existing bank customer can vouch for them.However, people can get cash advances from their Visas andMastercards, which are limited to $200 per day, he said.

Bank of Brookhaven President Bill Sones, said Friday morning hisbank was up and running. He said the bank was prepared to openWednesday morning on generators, but power was restored by Tuesdayevening.

“We are assisting our customers and evacuees as best we can,”said Sones.

He said currently the bank was busy trying to handle insurancevouchers in a reasonable fashion and that the bank was waiving ATMfees for non-customers as of Friday.

Darrell Morse, community president of Regions Bank, said Fridaywas the first day his bank was able to open due to a loss ofelectricity.

“Right now, we’re running the drive-through only,” said Morse,citing security concerns at other Regions’ branches in Baton Rouge,La., and Mobile, Ala.

Morse said Regions officials would re-evaluate the securitysituation Monday night and he would know early Tuesday morningwhether the lobby would reopen at the bank’s Halbert Heightslocation.

Regions’ ATM was still down Friday morning, Morse said. Morsesaid he hoped to have the problems resolved over the weekend .

First Bank at the corner of Brookway Boulevard and Highway 51has been operational since Tuesday night, said Coney Lea, seniorvice president.

He said the bank’s branches in McComb were open and thedrive-through in Monticello was open but was still withoutpower.

Lea said the only message he wanted to pass along to customerswas “don’t panic.”