Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Little Bank, Big Plans Lake City-Based CNB Moving into Metro Area

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Little Bank, Big Plans Lake City-Based CNB Moving into Metro Area

Article excerpt

CNB National Bank plans to open between five and nine branches in the Jacksonville area in the next 18 months -- a lot of branches for any bank, never mind a community bank from Columbia County.

CNB is making a big push to expand beyond its central North Florida home ground and into the Jacksonville area and the Gainesville market. It also is moving its headquarters from Lake City to Jacksonville and changing its name to CNB Florida Bancshares Inc.

"We want to be in Clay County and St. Johns County and have a presence in at least the four quadrants of Jacksonville," said Bennett Brown, president and chief operating officer.

"We want to be in Mandarin, on the Northside and probably out at the Beaches somewhere."

Some of the branches could be built from scratch and some could be located in existing buildings, depending on available locations and deals offered, Brown said. The company prefers leasing rather than building from scratch, he said.

The first Jacksonville branch is scheduled to open in about 30 days in temporary quarters on Beach Boulevard at St. Johns Bluff Road. The staff in the branch -- a former Barnett Banks office -- already is inside cleaning the place out and getting it ready. The branch will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. five days a week.

CNB has a one-year lease on the property, and next year it will move branch operations into the new headquarters being built off Southside Boulevard.

The two-story, 26,000-square-foot building will occupy 2.4 acres in Deerwood Park North, next to the Tinseltown Theater complex. Designed by the Jacksonville firm Powers & Merritt Inc., the building should be completed early next year.

To pay for the expansion program, CNB Chairman and Chief Executive Officer K.C. Trowell took the company public in January, raising $11.4 million.

Trowell is a former Barnett banker in Jacksonville who went home to Lake City to open his own bank in 1986.

He began with one Lake City office and expanded to 11 offices scattered across six neighboring counties. …

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