MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Colonial Bank announced an agreement to operate full-service branches in seven Wal-Mart Supercenters.

Six will be in Alabama - in Huntsville, Athens, Oxford, Sylacauga, Prattville, and Alexander City - and one in Fayetteville, in southern Tennessee. The first scheduled opening is at Huntsville in mid-December.

Following the lead of banks elsewhere that have struck similar, regional deals with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the subsidiary of $3.3 billion-asset Colonial BancGroup Inc. said the in-store facilities will have extended evening and weekend hours and provide a complete range of consumer banking services.

"Supercenter banking has been highly successful in other areas of the South and provides a cost-effective means of expanding a bank's delivery system," said Robert E. Lowder, president and chief executive of Colonial Bank, which has 96 branches.

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