BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Amsouth Bancorp. of Birmingham, which entered the New Orleans market in late 1999, said it will open a local headquarters in the downtown business district in August and nearly double its metro-area branch count in the next three years.

The $38.8 billion-asset company will rent space in the Texaco Building for the headquarters and one of these new branches, said Suzanne Mestayer, president of New Orleans operations at Amsouth. About 50 employees will work in the new local headquarters, she said.

In Louisiana, Amsouth will be going head to head with banks like Bank One Corp. and Hibernia Corp. But the expansion plan is “is not a move against any one competitor, but a move to further establish ourselves in the community,” Ms. Mestayer said.

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