First Citizens’ new building now open

Published 7:10 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The citizens of Luverne will have a more expanded bank to go to now that First Citizens Bank is nearly complete and opened the doors to its new building on Tuesday.

“We are right on schedule,” said William Petrey, president of the First Citizens Bank.

Petrey, who has been part of Luverne’s bank since 2003, says that during the early days of construction, there was a lot of good luck and weather to work with.

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“Russell Construction from Montgomery has done a marvelous job,” said Petrey.

The First Citizens Bank’s new formation started in early March of last year and is near completion.

“Construction has gone really smooth,” said Petrey.

Even though the inside of the bank is completely finished, Petrey says that there is still a little more to do on the outside.

“There was a line outside the door at 8:30 this morning,” said Petrey.

With a color scheme that is both welcoming and inviting, the lobby is opened and ready to serve the customers.

First Citizens Bank is a full service community bank, which means they offer Internet banking, bill payments, loans and checking accounts, safety deposits and many others.

Now the bank has an ATM, which opened for the first time this past weekend.

The drive-thru that is most accessible by LaGrande Avenue is closed for at least another couple of weeks, but people can still get to it by Woodford.

Because of safety and traffic reasons, people cannot get to the bank by third street because it is a main highway.

With the same friendly and conservative approach as the service has had since the bank first opened in 1983, Petrey says that he and his staff are excited to better serve their customers.

“With bigger spacing now, the customers have more privacy,” said Petrey.

Petrey says that the clientele have been really supportive of the transition.

“We have gotten tremendous encouragement from customers.”

The old bank is still in place and will be used for bookkeeping and old operations and will have more room for computers now that the business has moved to the newer building.

“We really had outgrown the old bank,” said Petrey. “We totally just ran out of room.”

With the new building, the service is strictly retail service with all of the tellers and customer service representatives present.

The bank is fully staffed with 23 employees, two working part time and with at least three new workers.

Petrey says that they hope to continue with the growth of the bank as the future goes on.

“We consider ourselves to be strong corporate citizens,” he said.

The bank is heavily involved throughout the community with their donation and time.

From the schools to Relay for Life to church, everyone in the bank is included in something and they do as much as they can to stay involved within Luverne and in Crenshaw County.

Even with the economy being as tight it has been in the country, citizens of Luverne can rest easy.

“There are no worries with Crenshaw County community banks failing,” said Petrey.

“With strong capital loans and conservative investments, we are doing very well…we know who we are lending money to because of our small community.”

With that in mind, customers should anticipate the grand opening week February 17-20 and the ribbon cutting being on Feb. 20 at 10 a.m.

Throughout the week, there will be refreshments in regards to customer appreciation and will have a new treasure giveaway.

There will be a treasure chest and participants will have keys, which some will work and some will not, and the ones that do work will open up with gift certificates from different businesses in the community.

“We have never done this before, but it should be fun,” said Petrey.

“And the merchants were really receptive of it.”

Customers can be sure to feel comfortable and at ease at the spacious and inviting atmosphere that is First Citizen Bank in Luverne.