FNB Branch Bank Project Underway

Thursday, April 11, 2013
An artist's rendering of the new First National Bank of Paragould branch being constructed in Piggott.

A project that has been months in the planning is now underway in Piggott, as First National Bank of Paragould is building a branch location in the city. The new bank is being constructed on the corner of East Main Street and South Garfield Avenue, and demolition of the current structure is underway.

The new bank building will be approximately 4,200 square feet of interior space, plus four drive-through lanes with the last lane also featuring an ATM. Total cost of the project is just over $1 million.

The new facility is being built on the lot formerly occupied by the local Chevrolet dealership. The building was first constructed by Charles Hardcastle and later was purchased by James Morris when he and his family bought out the dealership in the 1980's. In recent years the building has housed a variety of businesses, including several restaurants.

Instrumental in bringing the new bank to Piggott is local native and resident Rodney Rouse, who will serve as community bank president and work out of the local office.

"As most people know, (my wife) Kim and I are Piggott natives. After living away from the city for 10 years while we finished college and pursued our careers, we have a special appreciation for Piggott and the quiet amenities it offers."

Rouse noted a recent trend also played a hand in the project.

"It's Piggott's good fortune that there seems to be a renewal of sorts, with native sons and daughters coming back home after years of being away," he said. "It appears at least a few people have gotten tired of the traffic and stress associated with living in a sprawling urban environment and are seeking a quieter more peaceful way of living."

Rouse also pointed to the recent economic development boom in the city, noting the role it played in the decision.

"I've had several people ask me if there's something going on that they don't know about," he added. "The only explanation I have is that it appears as though brand names like McDonald's are betting that people are tired of driving everywhere to do everything. I think franchises like Fred's and Dollar General have proven that if you provide what people want close to where they live, they will support your business and, in turn, make their own communities even stronger. I strongly believe that the more we have to offer in Piggott, the less people will leave town looking for whatever they need or want, whether it be banking services, groceries or dinner."

Rouse also noted how much the effort of local businesses and individuals in the community has contributed to the resurgence.

"It's also apparent that there are people right here in Piggott willing to take the risk to invest in their community," Rouse noted. "In the past few years we've seen new locally-owned restaurants, a new building supply store, a new RV park and lots of improvements around the square that make Piggott the aesthetically pleasing community for which it has become known."

Rouse added a word of encouragement. "It's easy for those of us who live here to get discouraged, but we need to realize we have lots of things going for us that other towns our size have lost and will never regain -- most notably our own hospital, our own school district and, soon, three financial institutions standing by to help fuel further growth."

First National Bank has been serving Northeast Arkansas since 1889, and, according to Rouse, lives up to its motto -- "The Working Bank for Working People."

"It's a dream come true, of sorts, to be able to bring First National Bank's philosophy and financial strength to the Piggott market to serve our community," he surmised. "The investment FNB is making in Piggott is substantial, and I sincerely appreciate the level of commitment. By creating good jobs and providing banking service to those presently doing their banking outside the Piggott market, we will help bring business back to town and, thereby, help the city remain economically viable for years to come."

According to Rouse, the new branch bank will be open for business by the end of the year. He indicated the new facility will have five employees to start, increasing to six to seven employees as the business grows.

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