By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – Nearly six years after entering Tupelo’s lucrative banking market with a small loan production office, FNB Oxford officials broke ground Thursday on a new two-story office building.
FNB Tupelo has been operating from a 2,000-square-foot space in the Fairpark at Main retail center that houses Park Heights and Fairpark Grill. But by this time next year, the bank’s employees should be in a 7,000-square-foot building that will provide plenty of space to accommodate. current and future growth.
“Tupelo is a good business community, a good economy, a good market,” said John L. Barrett. “There are a lot of fine banks in Tupelo, and we think there’s room for everyone.”
Eleven financial institutions operate some 40 bank branches across Tupelo and Lee County. BancorpSouth and Renasant Bank, both headquartered in Tupelo, dominate market share, but several other banks in addition to FNB Tupelo have entered the market since 2006. Community Bank of North Mississippi opened a loan production office in 2006 and opened a new full-service office in 2010. Also opening offices have been BNA Bank of New Albany, CB&S Bank of Russellville, Ala., First American National Bank of Iuka and Farmers & Merchants Bank of Baldwyn.
FNB Tupelo’s new location is behind Hodges Orthodontics and across from City Hall. It represents an investment of more than $1.5 million.
Construction should take about nine months and the branch is set to open in the fourth quarter of next year. Barrett said the office will have an ATM but no drive-through. It also will have a “virtual teller” along with traditional teller service.
“We’ve waited a long time for this,” said FNB Community President Richard Alvarez. “We’ll be a full-service location – loans, deposits, all the traditional products and services. … we’ve got five employees now, but we plan on growing that as the business grows.”
Barrett credited Alvarez and his staff for building its customer base.
“They’re a key reason why we’re here today,” Barrett said, pointing at the construction site.