First Community Bank, the 10th largest in the state, opened its Batesville operations center beside the financial institution’s main bank Tuesday (Nov. 16). The three-story operations center is approximately 28,809 square feet and is connected to the main bank by a 170-foot sky bridge. The building complex provides space for 125 employees.
Project costs were not disclosed.
“At First Community Bank, we understand the importance of keeping jobs local and the economic impact that can have on a community and its people,” said Dale Cole, chairman and chief executive officer for First Community Bank. “We’re celebrating over 250 jobs in a rural community, and an investment in the town where it all began.”
Cole and Boris Dover, president and chief operating officer for First Community Bank, welcomed the crowd at the opening. The event featured several guest speakers including Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh; Independence County judge Robert Griffin; president and chief executive officer of the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce Crystal Johnson; and Arkansas State Bank Department commissioner Susannah Marshall.
Marshall, a native of nearby Jackson County, said she was astonished by the growth of the bank headquartered in the heart of the Ozark Foothills. She noted that she has known Cole and several others connected to the bank for many years before it opened its doors.
Elumbaugh noted that 53 counties in the state lost population or remained the same after the 2020 census. Independence County was one of the few that grew and part of that was directly tied to local businesses like FCB growing and flourishing, he said.
First Community opened in August of 1997 with about $3.4 million in assets, 153 shareholders, and 14 employees, Cole said. The company now employs about 500 people and has assets surpassing $2 billion, he said. Roughly half of the bank’s employees work in Independence County.
FCB has expanded to 13 communities in Arkansas and Missouri through the years, Marshall said. When it opens its third branch in Little Rock in early 2022, that will be its 30th, Cole added.