Farmers Bank looks to expand

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, March 7, 2012

NEWSOMS—Farmers Bank will make a second trip to Newsoms to discuss the possibility of expanding to the Franklin-Southampton County area.

Bank officials will meet with residents at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22, at the Newsoms Ruritan Building on Main Street.

“We spent the past three months doing our due diligence, and we truly want to find a way to legitimately meet their banking needs,” said Dick Holland, president and chief executive officer of Farmers Bank in Windsor.

Newsoms residents Lynda Updike and Linda Vick late last year approached Farmers Bank about opening an office in their town after BB&T announced it would close its branches in Courtland and Newsoms. The Winston Salem, N.C.,-based financial institution moved customers’ accounts to its office in Franklin.

The Courtland office in a rented storefront in Shands Plaza closed on Dec. 23 and the Newsoms bank on General Thomas Highway closed Jan. 6. The building in Newsoms is for sale.

Holland and three others from the bank attended an initial meeting with residents at the Ruritan building.

“It was full and there were people standing,” Updike said.

“You know, the people in Newsoms were so passionate about their banking needs,” Holland added.

The March 22 meeting will be a follow-up, Holland said.

“We would look at the whole Franklin-Southampton area,” he said.

No decisions have been made as to where the bank might open a branch or branches. Holland would only say in the Franklin-Southampton area.

“Anytime you branch (out), you proceed very cautiously,” he said. “We want to make sure we complete due diligence.”

Founded in 1919, Farmers Bank also has an office in Smithfield and three in Suffolk.