BY SARAH GREGORY
Traffic on the Asheville Highway (Tenn. Rt. 70), the Rt. 70 Bypass, and the Newport Highway (U.S. 321) was slowed for a short time Thursday afternoon while a bank building was transported from one location to another.
"American Patriot Bank is re-defining the term 'mobile banking,'" quipped President and CEO Randy Hall Thursday afternoon.
The bank is relocating its Asheville Highway branch to property at 1118 West Main St., a .99-acre site owned by the bank.
The move follows an earlier transaction in which the previous bank site on the Asheville Highway was sold for the construction of a CVS Pharmacy location.
Arrangements of the transaction allowed American Patriot Bank to keep the current branch building.
Plans call for the branch to re-open at the new site this summer.
In an earlier news release announcing the move, Hall said the new location "will provide customer convenience and allow for future growth, and efficiency."
American Patriot Bank contracted a local company, J.L. Wolfe Construction, of Mosheim, to handle the job.
Crews worked throughout the day to load and secure the halves of the building onto a large truck.
The truck carrying the first half of the building pulled off the lot onto the Asheville Highway, en route to the Newport Highway, about 4:45 p.m. Thursday.
Because of the short distance from the original location to the new spot, traffic was not seriously disrupted for any significant period of time.
Traffic was slowed but still moving in both directions while the building was moved down the streets.
Trucks from the contracted company led and followed the larger truck hauling the building.
One worker walked beside the building as it was moved to provide direction to the driver and to keep the top of the building from hitting power and other utility lines that cross above the streets.
Both halves of the building are now on the bank-owned property on the Newport Highway, awaiting work to prepare the branch for re-opening.
Hall said the target opening date is July 1.
In the meantime, American Patriot Bank customers are being serviced at the Summer Street and East Andrew Johnson Highway locations.
In addition to the new location, Hall said a new Internet website and mobile app for iPhone and Android smartphone users will be launched soon.
He says the new website and app will provide more banking options for American Patriot Bank customers.
The bank's new location at 1118 W. Main St. is adjacent to an old, former water tower -- familiar to Greene County residents for a number of decades.
Demolition of the water tower is not in site plans for the bank.
In an earlier news release, Hall said American Patriot Bank "is open to suggestions as to how this landmark could feasibly be preserved."
American Patriot Bank is the subsidiary of American Patriot Financial Group, Inc., with total assets of approximately $83 million at Dec. 31, 2012, the earlier news release noted.