There’s a new bank coming to DeLand, one that brings with it 70-plus years of treating local residents just like family. Citizens Bank of Florida, a true community bank originally founded in Oviedo, will be making its first expansion into Volusia County this spring.
“We are expanding our footprint and market in the Central Florida area,” says Gloria Dunmire, company vice president, who celebrates her 30th anniversary with the bank this year. “We started in Seminole, then Orange, and now Volusia.”
Citizens Bank of Florida’s newest branch is the bank’s sixth location, joining two banking centers in Oviedo and one each in Winter Park, Longwood, and Sanford. The DeLand branch will be located on the city’s main thoroughfare at 1450 South Woodland Boulevard.
Management for the DeLand location is already in place. Citizens Bank of Florida has brought in two veterans of the banking industry with local ties, Mark Figenscher and Hannah Elvester, to launch the new initiative.
Mark will serve as the vice president and branch sales manager of the bank. Upon finishing college at Fredonia State College in upstate New York, Mark moved to Atlanta where he started his banking career in 1986.
Since moving to DeLand in 2001 with his wife Lynne and children – one now attending Daytona State College, the other a freshman at DeLand High School – Mark has garnered strong ties throughout the community. That makes him a perfect fit for the Citizens Bank culture of community involvement. A member of the DeLand Breakfast Rotary Club, the DeLand Chamber of Commerce, and the DeLand Elks Lodge, Mark will be handling the bank’s business development in the loan market, providing and seeking out commercial loans.
“Right now, I am introducing the bank to the community,” Mark says. “I want it to become an integral part of the city of DeLand.”
Hannah, vice president and branch manager, was born in Japan as a military baby and moved to Florida as a child. She attended Winter Park High School and entered banking after graduation, taking night classes to complete her college education. Hannah is a 32-year veteran of the banking industry, and her new role consists of managing the DeLand branch, conducting business development and lending, as well as directing community involvement.
“I am working on getting us entrenched into the community,” she says. “We want to be recognized not as a big-box bank, but as a local community bank serving the community.”
Hannah is also a Rotarian, and she is involved with various chambers of commerce and has been a Boy Scout volunteer for 12 years. Her son, who is attending Seminole State College, is an Eagle Scout.
A Rich History
A true community bank from the outset, Citizens Bank of Florida began as Citizens Bank of Oviedo in 1946 after a group of celery farmers had grown tired of traveling to Sanford for payroll. Coincidentally, the current bank headquarters on Geneva Drive in downtown Oviedo is situated on an old celery field. The bank changed its name to Citizens Bank of Florida in 2005 after a branch was opened in Winter Park.
The bank’s rapid growth in the past 14 years hasn’t affected its principles. The same founding community characteristics remain to this day. Among the bank’s 500-plus shareholders, some are fifth-generation, dating back to its inception. Rick Lee, Citizens Bank of Florida president, was born in Oviedo and graduated from Oviedo High School.
“The ownership epitomizes how community we really are,” Gloria says. “We are truly owned by the community and the employees.”
The bank is home to 64 employees within its five current locations. Being a community bank means employees know most customers by their first names, and vice versa. And because management is governed by a local board, customer matters are expedited by reducing red tape. Like the big banks, Citizens Bank of Florida offers commercial and consumer loans; residential lending; personal, savings, and business accounts; and online banking.
But it’s more than just a business institution. The bank prides itself on community support. In each of the towns it serves, you can find Citizens Bank personnel at events or serving on boards, putting in their time for the betterment of the region, and the bank is once again looking forward to adding a new town to the list.