There’s a lot of economic activity on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Trustmark Bank wants to be a part of it. With the groundbreaking for its first facility in Biloxi, the 118-year-old financial institution is broadening its footprint in the area. The bank came to the Coast after Hurricane Katrina to serve the needs of home mortgage and auto loan customers with temporary offices and a small branch bank in D’Iberville.
“We found we have many customers who’ve had positive experiences with us, so the Coast is a natural extension for us,” said Jerry Host, Trustmark’s president of general banking. “Before Katrina, we had over 4,000 homes in the six-county area that we financed, 2,000 autos financed and numerous retail and commercial customers. People said they would do business with us if we were there. Our purpose is to serve our customers and hopefully get new ones.”
The 4,900-square-foot branch location is at 1696 Popps Ferry Road at the intersection of Cedar Lake Road in Biloxi, a rapidly-growing area that Mayor A.J. Holloway said is the geographic center of the city.
“Trustmark has chosen an excellent location in an area where the city has spent millions on major infrastructure improvements,” he said. “The bank is locating in one of the most popular and busiest locations in the city with easy interstate access. And, we’re happy to say, a number of other developers — retail, single- and multi-family homes and other projects — have decided to build right along with Trustmark.”
Holloway noted that government sets the table for economic development with infrastructure upgrades. “This area is an example of all the pieces coming together,” he said. “We’re glad to welcome them to the neighborhood and to our city.”
Brian W. Sanderson, president of the Gulf Coast Business Council, also welcomes the bank’s new venture and leadership.
“Trustmark’s decision to expand their operations on the Mississippi Gulf Coast illustrates the confidence of business in our region,” he said. “Major financial institutions and many other industries know not only that the Coast is open for business, but that it is profitable to do business here.”
Host said Trustmark recognizes the Coast’s strong banking competition, but intends to set its institution apart in several ways.
“We are a Mississippi-headquartered bank with over 100 years of history, and the Coast is the completion of our presence all over the state,” he said. “We think that statewide presence and branding will help us. We’re recognized and find that people on the Coast are familiar with us.”
He added that Trustmark is a full-service financial institution, including wealth management, trusts, personal and business insurance and retirement planning for individuals and businesses.
“The scope of services provided by Trustmark is equal or beyond any provided by any bank on the Coast now,” he said. “We will try to understand the needs of the market and provide what’s needed. We will offer everything at the new branch.”
Set to open in May 2008, the branch will feature traditional banking services, including walk-in and drive-through customer service, an ATM, mortgage, wealth management and insurance services.
“We understand there are long-standing banks that have been providing services for people on the Coast,” Host said. “We can bring new value to the market and can match those services.”
Trustmark foresees additional growth in the area and owns property on Highway 605 in Gulfport where there’s plenty of activity taking place. They are also reviewing other property.
“We are now close to having 5,000 homes financed on the Coast, and we are working with a number of different developers in putting together new home sites and subdivisions,” he said. “We are actively looking to work with developers, some we’ve worked with in the past. We want to be part of the housing growth.”
D.C. General Contractors is project contractor for the Biloxi bank and Cooke Douglas Farr Lemons Ltd. is the architectural firm.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at email@example.com.