POMEROY — Farmers Bank is expanding.
On Thursday, Farmers Bancshares, Inc., the parent company of Farmers Bank and Savings Company, announced plans to expand further into West Virginia, with a branch in the Teays Valley area of Putnam County.
“In order to stay a viable community bank, the board realized we needed to grow,” Farmers Bank President and CEO Paul Reed told the Sentinel on Thursday afternoon.
“This area has treated us very, very well. We have built a good franchise here,” said Reed of the bank’s current service area, noting that it was time to expand beyond the tri-county region.
The idea to move into Teays Valley was well thought out, with an analysis of the potential growth markets having been conducted prior to making the decision on the expansion.
“We did an analysis and the population demographics are strong; The growth potential for the bank, even with the competition is going to be tough, we think the growth potential for the bank is there,” said Reed.
The overall expansion into Putnam County will be a nearly $4 million investment for the bank, including the construction of the new financial center and land acquisition along State Route 34 between Scott Depot and Hurricane.
“The expansion of our footprint to Putnam County is an indication of Farmers Bank’s confidence in the future of community banking and long-term prosperity of the greater Teays Valley area,” said Reed in a news release.
“Recent studies suggest that the consumer is getting a little disenchanted with large national holding company banks and they like the feel of a community bank,” said Reed.
In addition to the expansion, Farmers Bank also announced it had tapped veteran Putnam County banker Roy Hamilton to head up the full-service branch, which will employ five to nine associates and offer traditional commercial and consumer banking products.
“We are pleased to launch this market expansion with this new team that brings great experience in financial services and a great understanding of the Putnam County community. Roy Hamilton is very well respected in the community and we are more than excited to have him serving our customers and taking a leadership role at our newest banking facility,” Reed added.
“I am extremely pleased to be a part of the Farmers Bank family,” commented Hamilton. “Farmers Bank takes great pride, not only in offering exceptional banking services, but in investing in their communities. For over 100 years Farmers Bank has been getting involved in things that are important to their communities and we look forward to being that kind of active partner here in Putnam County.”
The $275 million dollar bank, which was established in 1904 and currently operates six banking centers in Ohio and West Virginia, will build a new facility over 10,000 square feet in what Farmers Bank President and CEO Reed termed a “marquee location.” Adjacent from the Woodclyffe Chase subdivision on State Route 34 at 3582 Teays Valley Road, the financial center will include a full-service bank branch with a drive-thru, ample customer parking, and will feature a 2,500 square foot community room that will be available for use by community groups and local organizations.
The building will have a similar look to the one constructed a few years ago in Pomeroy.
In addition, Farmers Bank has hired two banking associates who will join Hamilton in a temporary banking office at 65 Chase Drive, in Hurricane, where customers can open accounts or apply for loans at this time.
“All the members of our new team have extensive banking experience and longstanding relationships with Teays Valley customers,” Hamilton said. “While we are just getting started, this strong group of experienced bankers is ready now to deliver our brand of community banking to customers.”
Since being founded in Aug. 1904, Farmers Bank has grown from its location on Court Street in Pomeroy (which was later home to the The Daily Sentinel) to have locations in Meigs and Gallia counties in Ohio and Mason County, West Virginia.
May 1987 marked the first expansion of the bank to include multiple branches, with the purchase of the Tuppers Plains location from Bank One. The bank once again grew in 1995, with the purchase of property on Upper River Road in Gallipolis which became its first branch outside of Meigs County.
In 2003, Farmers Bank opened its branch in Mason, with the Point Pleasant branch following in 2006.
The most recent expansion for Farmers bank was the new location in Pomeroy, and the conversion of the former location to be the corporate headquarters of Farmers Bank. These projects took place in 2011 and 2012.
Given the two locations already in place in Mason County, Reed said, “We already have some name recognition in the state and oddly enough through our Point Pleasant office we already had customers from the Teays Valley area.”
“This area has been great,” said Reed of the Meigs, Mason and Gallia county area. Reed called it a “new challenge” for the bank to expand into Putnam County.
Hamilton and his team can be contacted by telephone at 304-760-0929 to set up personal appointments, with the temporary office to be fully operational in the near future.
The bank anticipates the new financial center will be open by the end of the year or early 2018, depending on factors including permitting, weather and the construction timeline.