OCEAN SPRINGS -- Charter Bank, one of South Mississippi's newest financial institutions, will start 2016 with a new branch on U.S. 90 in Ocean Springs.
CEO Gregory Cronin said he anticipates a mid-January opening of the 4,000-square-foot branch, built using green construction methods that he said will offer new banking trends.
One of the teller counters is at the height typically found at most banks but the others are at desk level, allowing customers to sit and speak with a banker during the transaction.
"It's a little more personalized," Cronin said. "We do that in Ocean Springs now."
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The current Ocean Springs branch, which will close after the new branch opens, is in a shopping center near CVS Pharmacy. The branch will have better parking and a traffic light nearby at Hanley Road. The drive-through is on the southwest side of the building.
Brad Grayson will remain as the branch manager.
Charter Bank opened in 2008 in Biloxi with $17 million in capital that in seven years has grown to assets of $125 million, Cronin said.
"More than 80 percent of our shareholders live and work here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," he said.
For the new branch, the bank chose Ocean Springs architect Craig Crawley with Allred Architectural Group and Gulfport builder JW Puckett & Co.
"We used all local vendors as we have with all of our banks, so the money stays here on the Coast," Cronin said.
A major feature of the new bank is the community room that will seat 50 to 75 people. It has catering-kitchen access and a patio area.
"It's a way for us to give back to the community," he said. "It's open for everyone to use in Ocean Springs free of charge."
Charter Bank has a community room at its Pascagoula branch for service groups, nonprofits and for board meetings and internal use.
"It's used daily," Cronin said.