Officials on hand for the ground breaking were: Kim Timm, Senior Executive District Secretary, Jimmy Pittman, Pittman Construction, Danny Gonzales, Chamber President, Christie Betancourt, Interim Operation Manager of CRA, Carey Soud, First Bank President, CEO and Member of the Board, Abraham Romero, Mariela’s son, Bernardo Barnhart, First Bank Commercial Loan OfficerMariela Romero, First Bank Mortgage Banker – Loan Officer, Miller Couse, First Bank Chairman of the Board and Bill McDaniel, District 5 County Commissioner. (Submitted photo/Fred N Thomas, Jr.)[/caption] Carey Soud, First Bank President,CEO and member of the board welcomed everyone to the ground breaking cermony. Rev. Rick Heer did the prayer for the upcoming adventure in Immokalee. Other attendees were Bill McDaniel District 5 County Commissioner, Christie Betancourt interim Operation Manager for CRA, Danny Gonzales President of the Immokalee Chamber of Commerce and staff from the Clewiston branch of First Bank. Carey Soud told the crowd, “when he was a young man visiting Immokalee, he loved the wonderful leechy nuts found in Immokalee” and the Bank’s presence site has a lot of leechy nuts trees. He vowed to save as many of the leechy nut trees as possible. Soud gave an overview of the services that the new bank will render including taking a picture with your phone of a check and sending the picture directly to First Bank for deposit. This bank will have all the modern services as a full service bank. Lastly, Carey introduced First Bank Commercial Loan Officer for the Immokalee Branch coming in about eight months, Mr. Bernardo Barnhart. Bernardo told the attendees what to expect with the new bank and he needed the total support from the entire community to make this bank a great institution. Bernardo is a home grown Immokalean, who loves the area. He is married to Michele and they have three sons. Bernard, then, introduced Mariela Romero who has worked with him for the past seven years in the banking fielding. Mariela will be a Mortgage Banker Loan Officer at the new branch. There will be another Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony upon the completion of the branch.
The First Bank of Clewiston had its Official Grounding Breaking Ceremony for its Immokalee branch on May 10. The First Bank of Clewiston has had a presence for several years in Immokalee with the First Bank Production Loan Center, located at 1300 N.15th Street. First Bank of Clewiston was founded in 1921, more than 50 years ago. It was considered a small bank. The First Banks selling point was when considering a bank choose a bank that is healthy and this bank appears to be healthy by banking standards.