This might hurt… then again, it might not
As if we needed another reminder here in Birmingham that our business climate is changing once again, I bring your attention to the removal of “AMSOUTH” from their tower in downtown. I find this a bit odd, since Region’s building is shorter and therefore has a much smaller dominance on the skyline. Maybe, just maybe, this is only the first step in replacing the AmSouth logo with the Region’s logo atop the skyscraper? We can only hope.
In the meantime, the scuttlebutt is that this merger will mean lost jobs. I don’t buy it. As Barry Copeland, EVP of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce, stated in an interview last night… Birmingham enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation (virtually full employment). This means that most everyone affected by the merged company should find work. Case in point is Wachovia’s acquisition of SouthTrust… and to be fair, there is little parallel since in that case it was an outsider buying up one of our banks and moving jobs back home to North Carolina. Despite that, I am not aware of any mass numbers of former SouthTrust employees still on unemployment. In my industry’s (Technology) case, especially, the employees affected were quickly assimilated by the local IT industry. I would only assume the same for AmSouth’s affected employees.
Region’s spokesperson, however, predicts a much rosier picture. On TV last night, she pointed out that the combined company will be Top 10 in the world and headquarters will be firmly planted in Birmingham. She proposed that the company would grow and could quite possibly hire more people. Imagine that!
My prediction? This merger only means good things for the Birmingham economy.
p.s. Birmingham’s Columbus Day Parade wasn’t today (Columbus Day)… it’s scheduled for lunchtime this Thursday, 12 October. Go figure!