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Banking On More Growth

Development pays off in Brookhaven, especially when a bank isbuilt.

Pike National Bank opened the doors to its $4 million totalinvestment during a grand opening at its location on Highway 51Thursday, as bank officials, community members and area officialswere on hand for the event.

“Basically, this is part of the growth plans to expand themarket,” said branch President Richard Furr. “Brookhaven wasprimarily on that wish list.”

The local location means bank customers like Bobbie Deer, ofBogue Chitto, will not have to make the trek to McComb for theirfinancial transactions through Pike National.

“They’re my friends and I just love this bank,” said Deer, whoenjoys banking enough with Pike National that she does not mind thecommute.

The bank is headquartered in McComb and also serves customersthrough its branch in Tylertown. Officials’ decision to expand thebank’s branches to cover Homeseekers Paradise could be seen as acompliment to Brookhaven.

“It speaks well for the community and all that’s going on,” saidMayor Les Bumgarner. “We’re going to do everything we can to helpthem be successful.”

The new business has also added an immediate spark to the localeconomy.

Furr said roughly 75 percent of the subcontractors were localcompanies and there are currently 12 full-time staff membersworking at the bank, with hopes to add more jobs once businessbegins to pick up.

“We wanted to support the local economy, the local customers,”said Furr. “If they’re going to do business with us, we want to dobusiness with them.”

The bank is just one of several recent developments inBrookhaven.

In the past several weeks, area residents have seen the groundbreak for a 60,000 square foot, $7 million assisted living facilityon Monticello Street and a $5 million, 32,000-square-foot mentalhealth facility near the location of the new bank. Also in the pastseveral months, Kings Daughter’s Medical Center has continued toexpand its operations off Highway 51 North.

“We’re excited to be out here in the middle of it all,” saidFurr.

The Highway 51 location was no accident.

Furr said the bank’s site allows people to avoid the traffic ofBrookway Boulevard and allows accessibility toward downtown throughUnion Street.

“It’s very easy to get in and very, very easy to get out,” saidFurr.

The plans for the bank were developed in 2007 and completed inlate 2009. Construction began in May of 2010.

“My comment to (bank Founder, President and CEO Joe E. Sones)was if you ever open up a bank in Brookhaven, I’ll be glad to beyour man,” said Furr.