Cornerstone Bank plans new branch in Cassville

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

105-year-old institution prepping to build first branch in Missouri

The local business community is always expanding and changing, and in 2018, a new bank is planning to join that landscape.

Jason Tennant, president and chief lending officer of Cornerstone Bank, confirmed that a tract of land on Highway 37 and Main Street has been purchased, and the bank plans to build a branch there.

“That is our intention,” Tennant said.

According to Tennant, Cornerstone has a long history in Arkansas, but the banking brand is looking to expand into southwest Missouri, and has set its sights on Cassville.

“All of our locations are in Arkansas,” Tennant said. “So, Cassville will be our first branch in Missouri. We are located in Eureka Springs, Ark., Holiday Island, Ark., Berryville, Ark., and Huntsville, Ark. The banking system has been in the Berryville and Eureka markets for 20 years, and is currently building a new location in Harrison, Ark.

“Cassville is a market that fits our model of banking,” Tennant said. “We are 105 years old and already have a solid client base in southwest Missouri. When you look at Eagle Rock, Shell Knob, Golden and those areas, we have a lot of Missouri-based clients already, and we’ve been looking at the southwest Missouri market that would fit our footprint of the geographic of where we want to be. Cassville is a small town but a big area.”

Tennant compared Cassville to Eureka Springs, Ark., to describe why they were interested in the town.

“The population of Eureka is about 2,000 people, but the county is about 27,000, so we kind of look at it that way,” he said. “We do a lot of agriculture-based lending, and that’s a real strong part of the economy in the Cassville market, so it was a good fit, and we feel really good about the location that came available at the intersection right on the highway.”

The new bank will be upwards of about 5,000 square feet.

“We don’t have a floorplan yet, but when we do, we build nice facilities,” Tennant said. “Our branch in Hunstville, Ark., is about 4,800 square feet. It will be a substantial building.”

Once established, Tennant said the bank plans to be very involved in the local community, and estimates that the bank will bring about 10 new jobs to the city.

“Anywhere we go, we try to be a very good community partner,” he said. “We are a true community bank and hope to bring our brand of banking to that market and be successful. We try to be good corporate citizens and employers and add to the market we’re in and make Cassville a better place to do business in.

There are currently several existing banks in Cassville, and Tennant feels that adding Cornerstone to the mix will only enhance the local market.

“We don’t have anything negative to say about other banks that are there, but feel like there’s room for more, and competition is good for everybody,” Tennant said. “The banks there are strong and sound and been there awhile, but we analyzed the market pretty good and felt that Cassville was probably the best place to enter into southwest Missouri, and will be a great anchor for us to build there and grow.”

A projected completion date has not yet been set.

“We’re in the process of building a bank in Harrison, Ark., right now,” Tennant said. “We don’t have a timeframe, but it could possibly be in 2018. It just depends on the circumstances and how our other developments come together, but it’s no doubt circled on the calendar. Cassville is a really nice town, and we’re really excited to be there.”

Tennant said the fact that Cornerstone is a family-owned institution, community-oriented bank and can offer quick turn-arounds on decisions are some of its best features, along with a few others.

“The decision makers are here,” Tennant said. “We can offer anything the biggest bank in America can offer, and feel like we really shine with the people we hire. You can have the nicest building in the world, but people want to do business where they feel comfortable, and if your people aren’t friendly, they aren’t going to do business with you. So we will definitely work really hard to earn people’s trust.”

In addition, the bank has a very strong investment division.

“We do all types of loans — consumer, commercial, and we have a home mortgage division that we’re very proud of also,” Tennant said.

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