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First Citizens Bank opens its doors

First Citizens Bank, 100 South Campbell Station Road, held its grand-opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, July 25.

This is the second First Citizens Bank branch in Knoxville; the other is located off Parkside Drive.

The Holding family founded the bank in 1898 in Raleigh, N.C.

“Their main focus was on agriculture, and that’s where most of their lending was. They still are very big on that and do that in all of our areas,” said Myrl Zapolski, vice president and financial services manager at the branch.

“Not a lot of banks are real interested in doing agriculture, but because we started that way, we do have a department … of agricultural lending.”

“We are very proud of our history. We are proud of the fact that we can meet our clients’ needs and be competitive,” she added.

First Citizens is a publicly traded company, with a majority of the shares owned by the Holding family.

“We don’t react the way that most shareholder banks would. We can do the right thing for the client; we can do the right thing for the bank and stay healthy,” she said.

“One of the ways we do that is that we are very conservative in our underwriting on loans and things like that,” she added.

“We are very focused on the things that we do well, [which] are the things we want to do the most of,” Zapolski said.

“For us, that is usually going to be owner-occupied real estate,” she added.

First Citizens owns its own credit card and merchant services. According to Zapolski, this ends third-party problems; if a client has questions, those questions can be answered at a branch.

“That makes it more of a hometown bank, but with the asset base we have, we are not a hometown bank,” Zapolski said.

According to Zapolski, Bank associates do not receive commission on any product or service they recommend for a client.

“The motivation that our bankers have is strictly doing what the right thing is for the client,” she said.

“That analysis needs to be done on a case-by-case basis, and the answer to that is that you do what’s right for the client. Always,” she added.

First Citizens Bank’s lobby is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., although bank associates may meet with clients outside of lobby hours if necessary.

For more information, call the bank at 865-288-6111.


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