By STEVEN NALLEY
Renasant Bank held a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday for its new location at the College Park shopping center on Russell Street.
The morning ceremony was followed by an open house at Renasant’s other new Starkville location in the Thad Cochran Research Park. The ribbon Renasant staff cut at the College Park location was lined with $1 bills, which were donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Golden Triangle.
Tommy Tomlinson, president of Renasant’s Starkville Division, said the opening came 90 days after the announcement of Renasant Bank’s entry into the Starkville market. He said the two locations are temporary, and while Renasant has plans for a more permanent location in Starkville, the location is still secret.
“I stress the word ‘temporary,’ because we really have great plans on becoming a viable part (of the Starkville community,)” Tomlinson said. “Our plan is to become Starkville’s bank.”
Scott Cochran, Mississippi Division president with Renasant, said entry into Starkville has been in the works for a long time. He said he was impressed with the teamwork exhibited by Renasant’s staff, including the new employees at the new location, to make the opening day happen.
“For many years we have had clients that have had children at Mississippi State that have always asked, ‘When are you coming to Starkville?’” Cochran said. “The timing has not been right. There’s a great, great need for the bank and a market we’re excited about. I felt like I’m coming back home here. Being an alumni of Mississippi State and a native of the Golden Triangle, this has been exciting for me as well as the bank.”
Steve Langston, installed in September as chair of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, said Renasant’s arrival in Starkville is an indicator of the community’s economic health.
“There’s no question that Renasant has held itself to strict banking principles,” Langston said. “Good solid loans, taking care of people with service and safekeeping the deposits. I think that’s (some) of the things that’s kept Renasant strong through these economic crises. They do traditional banking, but, as well, they offer business and personal loans.”
Marvell Howard, president of the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors, said he hopes Tuesday will mark the beginning of a long and prosperous partnership between the county, the city, Mississippi State University and Renasant Bank. He said he was grateful to Cochran, Tomlinson and everyone who made Renasant’s arrival possible.
“We were excited when in July of this year, Renasant announced that they had plans to move to our area,” Howard said. “We were pleased that the decision makers at Renasant realized that even in a less-than-desirable financial outlook for our nation, Oktibbeha County and the city of Starkville has continued a positive economical trend.”
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said he was excited and happy to welcome Renasant to the community. He said Renasant’s culture of financial stability has allowed it to grow in difficult times, and Starkville’s citizens will benefit from that security.
“This is also a bank that is known for its community-mindedness; a bank that’s known for getting involved in communities where it has presence,” Wiseman said. “I think that is exemplified in our community by its willingness to go ahead and select a leader like Tommy Tomlinson, somebody that has dedicated his entire life to being a community banker in this community.”
Jon Maynard, president of the GSDP, said he was thrilled to see Renasant come to Starkville.
“We do ribbon cuttings all the time,” Maynard said. “We’ve got three today, as a matter of fact, and I can’t tell you how exciting it is as the economic development guy that people want to invest in our community. When a company or bank like Renasant wants to invest in our community and invest in somebody like Tommy Tomlinson who has been one of the best caretakers of this community, it truly warms my heart.”