First Trust & Savings Bank has announced a merger with Bank of McCreary County that is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2014.
First Trust & Savings Bank has announced a merger with Bank of McCreary County that is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2014.

After operating as "sister banks" for several years, First Trust & Savings Bank of Oneida and Bank of McCreary County will merge. Employees were informed of the move in a meeting Wednesday evening. Bank officials say that other than a name change, customers of the bank will notice little difference. A press release from the bank follows:

WHITLEY CITY — Bank of McCreary County President and CEO Gordon Kidd, along with First Trust and Savings Bank President and CEO Jim Johnson today announced plans to merge the two banks.

The merger, which is expected to become effective during the first quarter of 2014, is taking place as part of the long-term strategic plans of the two banks.  Both Bank of McCreary County and First Trust and Savings Bank are owned by the shareholders of McCreary Bancshares, Inc., a two bank holding company.  The two banks have been affiliated since 1994 but, according to Kidd, “it’s time to streamline our operations, blend our resources for the well-being of the communities we serve and prepare for the future growth and prosperity for our shareholders.

Bank of McCreary County was established in 1906 and long held to its deeply rooted traditions as a true community bank.  In like-minded fashion, First Trust and Savings Bank, based in Oneida, Tennessee, has also operated as a community bank.  Once the banks join under a common trade name, Kidd explained, bank customers will be able to conduct transactions seamlessly at any location of the bank, ranging from Whitley City and Pine Knot, in Kentucky, to Oneida, Huntsville and Jacksboro, in Tennessee.

After the merger is completed, it is expected the combined bank will have total assets of approximately $290 million.

“It’s very important for our customers at both banks, and, in fact, the communities we serve, to understand that there are no material changes in the way they bank with us,” Kidd said.  “The ownership and management of the bank will remain the same, and our customers will still see the same friendly faces they have come to know and trust.  The only significant changes customers will see will be in new signage on our properties and, when supplies such as checks are re-ordered, the new documents will reflect the new name and logo.  That’s pretty much all there is to it.”

By streamlining operations, Kidd noted, the collective institutions will be better prepared to meet the future needs of their customers in “a manner that makes sense.”  Johnson added, “we intend to continue to be very active and engaged in all of the communities we serve.”

“Although we are very similar banks with a common mission of service as true community banks, we have significant redundancy in our operations that, when alleviated, will be not only a cost savings, but will improve our coordinated efforts.  We appreciate the faith and trust our customers have placed in our two banks over the years and we pledge to continue to work hard to earn that trust,” Kidd added.