Sep. 7—TUPELO — Rising two stories, the gray steel framework of BNA Bank's downtown Tupelo location is in its early stages. When complete, the 18,000-square-foot building will be home to the New Albany-based bank as well as a couple of other tenants.
Bank officials, joined by city of Tupelo and Lee County officials and others, had a ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday at the site on West Main Street next to the railroad tracks.
"We've done well in those years," Collins said. "Northeast Mississippi is our golden spot on earth. We feel like it's a diamond in the rough."
With some $678 million in assets, BNA Bank has expanded into Lee and Lafayette Counties in recent years. Its first foray outside its home market was in Tupelo in the Belden area in 2007, followed by an opening on Tom Watson Drive in 2015.
"We're in just a sweet spot, and we see growth in these counties," Collins said. "We see Tupelo as the economic engine of Northeast Mississippi, and that's where we're going to put our money. We'll deploy our resources right here in Northeast Mississippi and nowhere else."
The downtown branch sits on a historic site. It was home to Leake & Goodlett, a hardware and former lumber store that was founded in 1904 and was one of Tupelo's oldest businesses. It closed in early 2019. BNA bought the property in December of that year.
Collins said the downtown bank — which should open next spring or summer — will be a cornerstone of the Fairpark district downtown, much like its former occupant.
BNA Bank will utilize more technology and have "universal bankers" who are cross-trained in all areas of the bank. He said the bank is more of a "solution center" that offers all the traditional financial services of a bank while employing the latest technology for digital banking.
While BNA Bank will occupy half of the first floor, the remaining 4,500 square feet is available for lease. The second floor will be home to the Phelps Dunbar law firm.