Relyance, Citizens Banks Plan Hot Springs Branches

Relyance, Citizens Banks Plan Hot Springs Branches

Relyance Bank of Pine Bluff and Citizens Bank of Batesville are the first two buyers in a new light commercial development on the southeast side of Hot Springs, developer Ross Whipple confirmed last week.

The Hot Springs Sentinel-Record used local property records to report that Relyance paid $965,699 for its lot in the new East Ridge subdivision, and Citizens paid $1.29 million. Whipple, who sold his Summit Bank to Bank of the Ozarks in 2014, partnered with local builder Tim Winston to develop East Ridge.

Citizens opened two branches in Hot Springs in the first half of 2015 after hiring 10 local bankers away from Southern Bancorp Bank, including David Wooldridge, now the market president. Wooldridge said the East Ridge site will be the market headquarters, assuming the new branch receives regulatory approval, and he is talking 12,000 to 15,000 SF, including some tenant space.

East Ridge subdivision, about 8 acres, is at the southeast corner of the intersection of Malvern Avenue and Carpenter Dam Road. It is southeast of the Hot Springs Country Club. Simmons Bank of Pine Bluff and Hot Springs-chartered Diamond Bank are also in the neighborhood, on the west side of Carpenter Dam Road, and Arvest Bank has a branch farther north on Malvern Avenue.

The East Ridge branch will be Relyance’s third in Hot Springs and fourth in Garland County. The Pine Bluff bank acquired its sister charter, Hot Springs Bank & Trust, at the end of 2013.

Todd Green, the Hot Springs market president for Relyance, said Pine Bluff architect Fred Reed is working on plans for the new branch. “We love our location,” Green said.

First Security Bank of Searcy is also planning a branch on Malvern Avenue.

“It’s bank alley,” Wooldridge said. “It’s kind of becoming the new Central Avenue of Hot Springs.”

Wooldridge said it was ironic that Whipple is the developer of the East Ridge site because he has been trying to recreate the Summit Bank footprint in Hot Springs.

Since Summit’s sale, he said, “I just think there’s a huge vacuum of banking the way it used to be.”

Whipple has three more lots for sale in East Ridge, and a second phase will be developed on 3 acres he and Winston have purchased just to the east at Malvern Avenue and Piper Street.

Hot Springs Bank Branches*

Bank of the Ozarks, Little Rock 6
Regions Bank, Birmingham, Alabama 6
U.S. Bank, Cincinnati 5
Arvest Bank, Fayetteville 4
Simmons Bank, Pine Bluff 4
Bear State Bank, Little Rock 3
Malvern National Bank 3
Southern Bancorp Bank, Arkadelphia 3
Citizens Bank, Batesville 2
Diamond Bank, Murfreesboro 2
Relyance Bank, Pine Bluff 2
BancorpSouth Bank, Tupelo, Mississippi 1
First Security Bank, Searcy 1
Total 42

*As of June 30
Source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.