MERCER – Scott Patton said you can bank on Mercer getting a new traditional full-service bank branch.
Patton, CEO and president of Mercer County State Bank, said Thursday the institution will establish a Mercer branch. This is significant to the borough and surrounding area as PNC Bank, the last traditional full-service bank in town, said it will be closing that branch in April.
“The top reason for us going there is Mercer is the county seat and there’s a lot of business activity,’’ Patton said. “It makes a lot of sense for us to be there.’’
He declined to name the building MCSB plans to buy as the deal is conditioned on securing state and federal approval to establish a Mercer branch. However, he did say it would be near the courthouse in a “familiar’’ location.
MCSB’s decision got a warm response from Mercer business owners and town regulars on Thursday.
“I was hoping this would happen,’’ said Jim Hicks, who along with his wife Gina owns the J. Hicks On The Square restaurant in Mercer. “Our customers kept asking, ‘How could Mercer not have a bank?’ ”
Hicks was so concerned about the possibility of not having a nearby bank, two weeks ago he installed an ATM inside the restaurant.
“I wanted our customers to have easy access to cash,’’ he said.
The machine has another benefit. Hicks said he has to pass along the 3 percent fee he gets charged for those paying by credit card. Those using the ATM are charged a flat $2 fee.
Having a bank in town will make it easier for the restaurant to deposit funds and get change, he added.
Dave Reese, co-owner of Reese Bros. Trading Post store in Mercer, said he was thrilled MCSB was coming.
“A lot of people were upset that the last bank was leaving,’’ Reese said. “How can the town of Mercer not have a bank?’’
Sherilynne Latimer, owner of Simply Vintage in Mercer, said she was elated a new bank was coming to town.
“You have to have a local place to go to,’’ Latimer said.
While shopping in Latimer’s gift and interior decorating store, Annetia Tobias of Fredonia, where MCSB has a branch, said she does most of her banking in Mercer.
“Mercer County State Bank is a nice little bank,’’ Tobias said. “I’m glad they’re coming here.’’
Citizens Bank closed its branch in November 2021, then Huntington Bank shut its office doors last January.
“We’ve been looking for a location in Mercer since Huntington announced they were leaving,’’ Patton said.
MCSB’s Jackson Center branch four miles away will remain open after the Mercer office is opened, he added.
Since regulatory approval is required and equipment has to be bought and installed, Patton acknowledged the Mercer branch likely wouldn’t be able to open until late summer or early fall.
Like other businesses, the banking industry is seeing delays in its supply chain from ATMs to drive-through equipment, he said.
“We want to do this as quickly as we can,’’ he said. “I know this is going to be an inconvenience. But Mercer is going to have a bank.’’
Once opened the Mercer office will have around five employees. Julius Brodie, who works at MCSB’s Hermitage office, has been named its branch manager. Brodie had worked for another bank in Mercer a couple years ago.
Pennstar Federal Credit Union has an office on the same street as the previous banks and will continue to remain open, Nichole Sayers, Pennstar’s CEO and treasurer previously said. Pennstar offers consumer products such checking, savings, debit accounts and online banking services. It also offers car, personal and home equity loans but not mortgages or business accounts.
MCSB will offer all the products Pennstar has but also will offer mortgages and business accounts, Patton said.
Based in Sandy Lake, MCSB was founded in 1911 and has a total of 10 offices in Mercer, Crawford, Venango and Butler counties. Employing 105, the bank has assets of $560 million.
“We’re excited about this opportunity to be in Mercer,’’ he said.
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