Whitney HQ Opens in River Ranch

by Patrick Flanagan

Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30

Though the Downtown branch has yet to officially shut its doors, Whitney Bank's new regional headquarters in River Ranch is now open for business.

"We're partially moved," says Duayne Richard, who was promoted to president of the bank's Western Louisiana region in 2013.

Photo by Robin May

Whitney Bank Regional President Duayne Richard with Retail Sales Leader June Hamlin and Lafayette Market President Bill Hendrix at the bank's new regional HQ in River Ranch

With the new location's opening, Whitney's existing branch in River Ranch, located across the street from the new HQ on the corner of Settlers Trace and Camellia boulevards, has closed.

So far, Richard says the move from Downtown to River Ranch has consisted of the bank's retail services, mortgage and private banking, and the insurance and investment departments. What remains at the Lee Avenue branch downtown - Whitney's Lafayette HQ for the last 30 years - are the bank's executive offices, the business, commercial and middle market corporate banking departments, and treasury management services, says Richard.

By May 8, those remaining departments will also have vacated the downtown branch, leaving just the retail arm that will close May 30, marking an end to the bank's presence in Downtown Lafayette.

"The Lee Avenue building just wasn't conducive anymore and didn't lend itself to the new way of modern-day banking," Richard tells ABiz. "The new River Ranch location is full-service, offering everything from a branch to commercial and corporate lending to private banking, trust and treasury management, insurance, the whole product."

Whitney's new HQ is located on two of the four floors of the 50,000-square-foot Camellia Tower V - a $10 million development.

"I really view the move to River Ranch as a positive for Lafayette, and it shows that our holding company recognizes our growth in this market and our fine customer base, and that they want to see us continue that growth," says Whitney's Lafayette Market President Bill Hendrix, who succeeded Richard in November after Richard was elevated to regional president.

Whitney's Downtown location will close May 30

Richard says the Oil Center location will remain open and is expected to pick up some of the Downtown business.

Following last year's closures of a number of branches in Alexandria, Richard says more revenue was freed up for the Lafayette market, which could mean additional branch openings in the future.

"Closing those branches in Alexandria allows us to reallocate money to high growth areas, and with Lafayette and the growth we've seen here, we're looking at areas where we have voids and places we'd like to possibly relocate," says Richard. "Also, we have some branches that are really close geographically, and we're looking to relocating some branches where it makes more sense."

Though Richard wouldn't elaborate on the specifics of those plans, he did say a continued expansion is in store for Lafayette.