CNB Bank officials felt their branch in Camden could do better than the small satellite that had become "a glorified ATM" within Walmart until the grand opening of a new, stand alone bank at the beginning of December.
As CNB Vice Presidents of Business Development John August and Stephen Wright put it, local merchants did not think to take a trip to Walmart in order to obtain a small business loan.
"People like tradition in banking," Augustus said. "Over the years, we've tried the Web banking and moving away from sticks and bricks. Generally speaking, people will participate in that but they like to have that very traditional bank look and feel. I think that's what you see here."
Sure enough, branch manager Robin Deputy said she had seen an increase in business since the Dec. 3 grand opening conducted with the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce.
Management of the bank felt that this was also a good time to expand its presence and improve its ability to conduct the business of buying and selling money within Kent County, Wright and Augustus said.
"This area is vibrant," Augustus said. "We know there are plenty of businesses and plenty of consumers in the area with the growth that they've seen, particularly in the Camden-Wyoming and Magnolia area over the last ten years. We feel like this is a good place for us to be."
With the grand opening, the Camden location joined Felton and Milford as one of three stand-alone CNB banks in Kent County, Wright said. Dover would likely be the next step toward expansion, he added.
Most of CNB's business has been tied to real estate, including small business loans and residential construction loans, Augustus said. But the bank also has offered consumer lending and a myriad of other products.
Both Wright and Augustus once worked for some of the bigger banks, in Delaware, which they declined to name. But they sill appreciated the referrals that colleagues from those banks directed to them to help people who had good credit but were on teetering on the edge.
"John and I have both received phone calls from other banks that we've worked for saying, I got to tell this guy no but it's a good credit," Wright said. "Can you do it? If you can do it, I'm still going to look like a good guy."
"The worst thing Steve and I can do is tell somebody no and not really believe in why we're telling them no," Augustus said. "That's what this bank affords us, the ability to make decisions and be accountable for those decisions."