Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Clearfield bank expands in Indiana market

by SAM KUSIC on March 24, 2013 3:00 AM

Apparently seeing an opportunity for growth, an out-of-county bank is enlarging its Indiana footprint as it attempts to capture new business-loan revenue.

Clearfield-based CNB Bank this week announced that it has added staff and has begun offering a full range of business-banking services at its lone Indiana County outpost along Philadelphia Street. The office previously had been a loan origination office only.

“By expanding our offerings in Indiana, we are now a one-stop shop for our business customers — providing deposit products and services along with loan options,” said President and CEO Joseph B. Bower Jr. in a statement. “CNB is a perfect match for the community of Indiana, and it is our pleasure to offer the people and businesses an alternative for financial services.”

Indiana, however, isn’t exactly wanting for alternatives.

Within a block or two of CNB’s Philadelphia Street office, there are First Commonwealth Bank and S&T Bank, the Pittsburgh region’s seventh- and eighth-largest banks by deposits.

A bit farther down the street is the headquarters of Indiana First Bank. And just outside of Indiana Borough is Marion Center Bank, whose White Township headquarters opened in 2011.

In addition, Johnstown’s 1st Summit Bank has a branch along Oakland Avenue. PNC, meanwhile, has two Indiana branches.

Nevertheless, CNB believes it has an edge through its commercial lending and therefore is focusing on it as a strategic growth initiative, according to its 2012 annual report.

“The corporation views commercial lending as its competitive advantage and continues to focus on this area by hiring and retaining experienced loan officers and supporting them with quality credit analysis,” it said.

The bank lists its primary markets as Cambria, Cameron, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, McKean and Warren counties as well as portions of Centre and Jefferson counties. And now, Indiana, which CNB entered in August 2011 with the opening of the loan production office.

The bank staffed the office with people it described as seasoned commercial lenders — Jeffrey Alabran, senior vice president for commercial lending; Brett Stewart, assistant vice president for commercial lending; and Deborah Peak, commercial loan portfolio manager — and charged them with building relationships throughout the county.

With the expansion, it has added two people: Jessica Sharbaugh, universal associate, and Nadine Rodgers, banking officer.

In terms of loan production, it’s not clear how much success they’re having so far — bank representatives did not return phone calls seeking comment. But companywide, its commercial loan and commercial mortgage portfolios collectively grew 4.6 percent between 2011 and 2012. Most of that growth was due to an increase in demand for commercial mortgages, the bank said. The two lending lines represent the majority of the bank’s loan portfolio.

The bank has seen steady growth in those lines over the past five years as outstanding balances collectively increased by 18.6 percent to $518.8 million in 2012.

It has also seen much growth in residential real estate loans — balances have nearly doubled, rising 94 percent to $347.9 million in 2012. The bank said that activity is due to historically low interest rates, which have driven demand for new mortgages and home equity loans and spurred refinancing.

The office is on the first floor of The Atrium, 665 Philadelphia St. In addition to servicing businesses, it is providing personal banking services.

Incidentally, The Atrium is now fully occupied, said building owner Tom Zaucha.

The building’s second floor, where CNB’s loan office had been located, was largely open following the departure of Physiotherapy Associates, which moved a regional service center overseas.

The Open Door Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Center is filling that space.

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