First National Bank Project Nears Completion

Thursday, November 21, 2013
Workers with Burn's Floor Covering install tile in the lobby of the new First National Bank in Piggott last week. Construction on the new facility is now near complete

The construction phase of the new First National Bank community branch in Piggott is scheduled to be complete this week, with the new facility slated to open early next month. Work on the 4,200 square foot bank has progressed rapidly the past several months, as favorable weather has allowed crews to complete work on the exterior ahead of schedule.

Piggott native Rodney Rouse is the community bank president, and will work out of the local office. He indicated the contractor was scheduled to complete the job this week, and the new branch is scheduled to open for business on Monday, Dec. 9.

Rouse, a longtime veteran of the banking industry, noted the new bank will work hard to become part of the community. "First National Bank is a part of the fabric of each community we serve, and Piggott is no exception," he explained. "We will be working hard to support our school, hospital, local businesses and charitable events to help improve the quality of life for those who have chosen Piggott as their home."

He also pointed to the impact the project has had on the local economy, noting "it's no secret that (my wife) Kim and I are deeply rooted in Piggott--as is our entire banking staff, and I assure you we will all do our part. We're also proud of the fact we have employed as many local craftsmen and contractors as possible to build this new facility--and purchased as many of the materials locally as were available."

Rouse noted the institution feels strongly about the investment in the Piggott area, adding "we believe in supporting the community we serve, and helping make it better and stronger."

Of the local staff, Rouse was quick to mention it will be made up entirely of local faces. "It was our goal to employ local talent to help sustain the local economy, and we've been able to accomplish that goal," he explained. "The new banking facility has created eight new jobs, so far, as is anticipated to create more as we grow."

The staff will include Rouse as community branch president, Cole Baldwin as loan officer, Rhonda Phillips, Jonathan Wright and Fallon Winscott as customer service representatives and Joanna Ivy and Kortney Smart as tellers.

"We also have one more teller position to fill, and are accepting applications," he added. "All of our staff members are active in their community and have the best interest of Piggott at heart--we're proud to have them on board."

Rouse also noted the new bank branch will have a long and lasting impact on the Piggott economy. "Anyone who is truly interested in seeing Piggott grow and survive well into the future economically should welcome the arrival of a new bank into the economic mix," he noted. "At First National Bank's Piggott Banking Center, we will do more than our part to inject investment capital into the Piggott economy-in fact; we've already begun doing just that." He noted the local response has already been overwhelmingly positive. "Actually, the Piggott Banking Center will have twice as much business already on the books the day we open as was anticipated it would have at the end of its first year in business," he explained. "First National Bank has a 125 year history of sound, dependable lending that has helped sustain and improve Paragould, Jonesboro and Corning and we have every intention of continuing that tradition in Piggott."

He also offered thanks to local civic leaders for their help in making the plan a reality. "I'd just like to thank Mayor Gerald Morris, the city utilities workers and all those who have worked on this project so far. Everyone has been very, very accommodating and professional and it has not gone unnoticed."

Rouse also noted the contractor for the job has been amazed at how fast issues are handled. "Many times during this process Troy Grammling (the contractor) has called me and asked if we can get something done and if so, when? And, each and every time I've had the cell number of who to call and without exception they showed up on the job site at least on the same day, but most of the time within minutes," he surmised. "It's been extremely gratifying to live in such a tight-knit community and be able to be a part of a project this size that will do so much good."

Rouse noted it's a joy to be able to work on a project where there are no run-arounds. "There's been no "getting in line" or "calling an 800 number" or "submitting paperwork" just a quick call and it happens," he explained.

And, for Rouse the completion of the project will mark a milestone, "it's a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and one I've dreamed of for years. I just want to say thank you to Larry Brewer-Chairman Emeritus, Bill Brewer-Chairman of the Board, Donald Quinn-CEO and Will Brewer, Vice-President/Board Member of First National Bank for all their support and for making this possible, he surmised. "And, thank you Piggott--we look forward to a bright future."

The new bank branch is located at the corner of East Main Street and Garfield Avenue, on the lot formerly occupied by the local Chevrolet dealership. Total cost of the project was set at around $1 million.

The new branch bank will also include four drive-through lanes, with the last lane also featuring an ATM.

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