Atlanta's community bankers aren't expecting a windfall of new business once the 1996 Olympics hit town. But they will benefit from the ripple effect.

"We definitely think the economic impact of the Olympics will mean some spillover," said James Powell, president of Northside Bank in Roswell, which is 30 minutes from Atlanta. "The big infrastructure improvements are bound to affect all of us in the metro area."

"We know there will be enormous amounts of money available for investment in Atlanta over the next three years," added Edward Mulkey, president of $140 million-asset First Alliance Bank, Marietta. "What we'll see is some minor increases in [borrowing among] customers who are in construction and retail. But our biggest question from our customers is: How in the hell are we going to get tickets?"

NationsBank in Prominent Role

The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games estimates that the Games' economic impact will total $5.1 billion.

New construction is expected to reach $568.6 million, a total of 80,000 new jobs are expected to be created throughout the state, and visitor spending could reach $1.38 billion.

The most visible bank at the Olympics will be NationsBank Corp, which has contributed $40 million as a sponsor and provided the Atlanta committee with a $300 million line of credit.

Rayburn J. Fisher, president of Atlanta-based Metro Bank, said small banks must be aggressive and hunt for niches. "I think we will definitely look for opportunities," he said. "We are excited about it [the Olympics], and optimistic about it. We definitely see it as plus."

Mr. Fisher said the bank has provided an Atlanta firm with a line of credit of about $150,000 to print Olympic T-shirts.

Other community bankers are more pessimistic about cashing in on the Games.

"We don't feel like it is going to be a major impact for us," said Phillip Sapp, senior vice president of marketing and planning with Gwinnett Federal Bank, which is about 40 miles from Atlanta. "As far as us getting any more business out of it, we scratch our heads."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.