Western Pa. bank NexTier expands to Central Pennsylvania
Looking to gain a foothold in Central Pennsylvania, a community bank from western Pennsylvania has hired a midstate native to open a Cumberland County lending office.
Butler-based NexTier Bank, a bank with $1.2 billion in assets and 28 branches in western Pennsylvania, recently hired John Havas as a senior vice president and Central Pennsylvania market manager.
Havas is a Cumberland Valley High School graduate and lifelong midstate resident. He has 13 years of banking experience, including nearly nine years with Integrity Bank, which was acquired by S&T Bank in 2015. He will run NexTier's new loan production office at 4231 Trindle Road in Hampden Township, Cumberland County, which was last used as a branch for FNB.
FNB closed the branch in 2016 as part of its acquisition of Metro Bank. FNB assumed the Trindle Road branch in 2006 when it acquired The Legacy Bank. NexTier is leasing the 3,800-square-foot building.
"We have almost $1.3 billion in assets and our plan is to grow that through organic growth as well as through mergers and acquisitions," said Clem Rosenberger, NexTier's president and CEO.
Expansion in Central Pennsylvania, which has seen relatively strong population growth, is the next logical step for the bank, Rosenberger said. Cumberland County, for example, has been the fastest-growing county in the state this decade. And NexTier sees growth potential ahead, especially in commercial and industrial lending.
Rosenberger also cited M&A activity in Central Pennsylvania over the last few years, with big regional banks absorbing smaller community banks, as a motivating factor for NexTier to move in. The industry consolidation, he said, has opened the door for new names like NexTier to enter the market.
More banks are opening lending offices as a way to dip their toe into new markets. Northeast Ohio has been a target recently, with NexTier among western Pennsylvania banks moving in there, according to Crain's Cleveland Business.
Rosenberger hopes to obtain federal regulatory approval later this year to open a full branch office at the Trindle Road location. For now, Havas is the only local employee but he will be supported by NexTier's staff in Butler. The bank also has lending offices in Hermitage and Clarion, as well as Cleveland, Ohio.
"We didn't want to take someone from western Pennsylvania and throw them into a new market," Rosenberger said. "John is born and bred in Central Pennsylvania and he understands the market and the players."
Over time, Rosenberger said the bank hopes to establish a stronger regional presence in Central Pennsylvania. NexTier, which has made small acquisitions over the last few years, including a 2016 takeover of Eureka Bank in southwestern Pennsylvania, could grow locally through acquisitions, he said.
Rosenberger said the bank also could open more local branches. In addition to the Camp Hill and Mechanicsburg areas in Cumberland County, Lancaster and York counties could also be NexTier targets.
"I think it's a great market where we can attract talented individuals," Rosenberger said. "People grow tired of working in bigger institutions where they are just a number."
NexTier has about 280 employees. Its branches are located in Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler and Westmoreland counties.