This content is from a Nola.com|The Times-Picayune article published on June 28, 2016.
The former IberiaBank at Clearview Parkway and West Esplanade Avenue is getting a second life as a new, full-service Metairie Bank branch. The location is Metairie Bank’s first new branch in Jefferson Parish in 30 years.
Metairie Bank CEO Ron Samford said the takeover made sense for two reasons. Metairie Bank has customers spread throughout East Jefferson Parish but never had a branch presence north of Veterans Memorial Boulevard.
The new branch is also two blocks away from East Jefferson General Hospital, an area where Metairie Bank seeks to boost its business lending. Unlike other branches, Samford said the location has a business lender onsite.
“We thought it was a location we just couldn’t pass up,” he said.
The branch at 4305A Clearview Parkway was originally an Omni Bank location. It became an IberiaBank when the Lafayette-based bank acquired Omni in 2011. The location was put on the market earlier this year after IberiaBank closed its branch there.
It’s not clear why IberiaBank walked away from the branch. It closed eight branches late last year as part of cost cuts and streamlining, but no closures were planned in the greater New Orleans area. A new IberiaBank branch just opened on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in November.
IberiaBank did not immediately return a request for comment.
Whatever the reason, Samford and John LeBlanc, chief financial officer at Metairie Bank, said the branch was a rare opportunity to move onto a busy corner quickly. Even the furniture was included in the deal.
“It was a turnkey opportunity for us and we took advantage,” LeBlanc said.
Samford said proximity to East Jefferson General Hospital was especially attractive. The bank’s affiliated insurance business has grown to include health insurance offerings. He added the area is a hotspot for the type of independent practices and small businesses Metairie Bank wants to lend to.
Metairie Bank is taking a similar approach on the North Shore. The bank is nearing a deal to purchase a former Bank of New Orleans branch nearby St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington, what would be its second location on the North Shore. The deal is expected to receive full regulatory approvals later this summer.
Nikki Gaines, a sales manager who recently joined Metairie Bank from IberiaBank, and Desi Munoz, an operations manager, will head the Clearview Parkway branch. Ann Branigan, who joined Metairie Bank from Capital One Bank, is the commercial lender on site. The branch will have seven employees total.
Metairie Bank, founded in 1947, has eight branches, seven in East Jefferson Parish and one in Mandeville. The bank has $370 million in assets.