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Hartsville’s Citizens Bank is now First National Bank, but officials say the same dedication to service remains in place.

Despite being part of a recent acquisition, it’s business as usual at what was once Hartsville’s Citizens Bank.

That was the message from bank officials during Tuesday’s meeting of the Hartsville/Trousdale Chamber of Commerce.

Branch president Todd Austin spoke on the bank’s transition after being purchased by First National Bank. The Paragould, Ark.-based bank announced in May that it had purchased Citizens and the transition was made beginning Sept. 1 at the local level. The purchase expanded the bank’s footprint beyond Arkansas and gave First National 24 total branches and over $2 billion in assets. It also makes the Hartsville bank able to service a higher amount of loans that was previously the case.

“It allows us to offer products we couldn’t before,” Austin said. “That’s the biggest advantage this merger does for us.”

Austin emphasized that while some employees of Citizens had opted to retire or explore other opportunities, there had been no layoffs and no one from Arkansas had rotated in to replace locals.

“Everyone, even in our operations department, has found a spot with First National. That was important,” Austin added.

Austin addressed a number of questions he said he has heard from the community regarding the transition.

Citizens Bank checks can still be used and will be honored by existing customers and debit cards will still be good until February 2022, when the bank finishes transitioning to the electronic system used by First National. At that time, new debit cards will be issued to all customers.

The most obvious change has been in the bank’s operating hours. The Hartsville branch is now open on Wednesdays and some further changes to hours could be in the works, Austin said, while noting that any changes would be advantageous to customers.

“Our faces aren’t changing, the people who wait on you aren’t changing,” he said. “Give us a chance to prove that we’re still who we’ve always been, your friends and neighbors.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

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