By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – As banks entered Tupelo for the first time over the past few years, there was one notable exception.
First American National Bank, based in Iuka, was close by, with branches in Saltillo and Fulton.
But CEO Mike Webb said First American has long eyed the All-America City.
“We always knew we’d be there,” he said. “With our locations in Fulton, Booneville, Saltillo, Iuka and elsewhere, it just fit.”
So it was a matter of timing and location, and Webb said the former AmSouth Bank on West Main Street in downtown Tupelo was the ideal spot
The lending office opened March 2. Jamie Osbirn, Ron Roper and Leslie Stacy staff the office, which they hope to turn into a full-service bank within a year.
“We’re a loan office, hoping to put money on the streets,” said Osbirn, the president of the Tupelo office. “In the short term, we want to be a full-service bank. And we also plan to open a second location near the mall.”
Webb said First American has owned property in the Barnes Crossing area for several years.
Osbirn said turning the lending office into a full-service bank – which allows customers to make deposits and withdrawals and access other financial services – depends on building the client base at the downtown branch.
“We make all kinds of loans – small business, commercial, car loans. We even made loan for a Bush Hog,” he said.
Webb said First American already attracts many Tupelo-area customers at its other branches and expects the downtown location to attract its fair share.
First American, he said, is a community bank in every sense of the term.
“We don’t have to be quite like other banks,” he said. “We can grow at our own pace. We don’t have to have quarterly calls with analysts, we’re not volume-driven. You can’t build a bank without a relationship and that’s what we do.”
First American National Bank
– Headquarters: Iuka
– Other locations: Belmont, Booneville, Burnsville, Fulton, Golden, Saltillo,
– Tupelo location is 431 W. Main St., Ste. 201
– Tupelo hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed from 12:30
p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch
– Phone: (662) 844-3419
■ A ribbon cutting will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m.