Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Security Bank Expands Its Downtown Owensboro Headquarters, Adds 25 Jobs

By Steve Vied, Messenger-Inquirer
Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 11:59 PM CDT

One month to the day since he was last in Owensboro announcing new jobs and investment, Gov. Steve Beshear returned Wednesday with news of more new jobs and more investment.

Beshear, joined by Mayor Ron Payne and officials of First Security Bank, announced that the bank will expand its headquarters operation in downtown Owensboro and bring 25 new full-time jobs to the city.

First Security Bank, which has its headquarters at 300 Frederica St., will move across the street to a four-story building at 313 Frederica, which the bank recently purchased along with several adjoining properties.

Beshear said First Security will spend $4.3 million on the expansion project.

First Security has been approved for state tax incentives of up to $250,000 over 10 years through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The incentive payments are tied to the creation of the 25 Owensboro jobs and wages paid to those workers.

On July 1, Beshear appeared at City Hall to announce that U.S. Bank Home Mortgage would add 500 jobs to its Owensboro work force that already includes more than 1,000 employees. The new mortgage service employees will work in a 81,000-square-foot building that will be built by the city of Owensboro in the MidAmerica Airpark and leased to the company. U.S. Bank Home Mortgage's investment in the project is $14.1 million.

On that same day, Beshear announced that Swedish Match, with the help of state incentive money, would invest $3.7 million to upgrade equipment, allowing the company to retain almost 300 jobs.

"I hope you are not getting tired of me coming," Beshear said to the crowd jammed into First Security Bank's lobby. "This is another exciting day for Owensboro. Without question, we are digging our way out of the recession, job by job and company by company. There's no better example than right here in Owensboro-Daviess County."

Beshear said the incentives approved for First Security Bank were made possible by legislative changes to Kentucky's economic development incentive program. The governor said those changes were sponsored by Rep. Tommy Thompson, a Philpot Democrat, and supported by Rep. Jim Glenn, an Owensboro Democrat, and Sen. David Boswell, a Sorgho Democrat.

Earlier this summer, First Security Bank purchased several properties downtown, including the office building at 313 Frederica St. At the time, Lynn Cooper, president and CEO of First Security Inc., the bank's holding company, said the company had experienced fast growth over the past couple of years and needed room to expand. First Security also purchased parking lots at 310 St. Ann St., 319 Frederica St., and 307-309 Frederica St., all of which adjoin the four-story building. The price for all the properties was $2.35 million.

Cooper said Wednesday the new headquarters building will be renovated and ready for occupancy in about 18 months. He said the company is not sure what it will do with the building it now leases and occupies at 300 Frederica St.

The new jobs will be "high level, back room, administrative support, nonsales jobs," Cooper said.

While Evansville tried hard to entice First Security to move its headquarters there, Cooper said the bank decided to stay in Owensboro because of support it received from the city, county and the state, and because of its customer base.

"I'm a big fan of downtown redevelopment," Cooper said. "I love what Owensboro is doing downtown to be a strong, viable community."

Payne said Wednesday's announcement is important for three reasons: "It creates additional jobs, it locates a corporate headquarters here and is locates it downtown. Years ago pioneers created this city. Today we have new pioneers like First Security recreating this city. We are doing an extreme makeover with the governor's help. Thank you so much."

In March, First Security Bank announced that it was purchasing eight Integra Bank locations -- four branches in Bowling Green, one in Franklin and one each in Paoli, Ind., Mitchell, Ind., and Bedford, Ind. The acquisition of the branches was to result in total assets of about $430 million and deposits of about $340 million for First Security. In mid-August, First Security terminated the agreement to buy the three Integra branches in Indiana.