SPECIAL TO OCALA STYLE
When it comes to the mission of Ocala’s newest bank, the sunset policy speaks volumes according to President and CEO John Hunt.
“Each customer will get a call back the same day a call was made,” says John, “Our number one priority is accessibility – the sun will not set on an unanswered phone call.”
This hands-on philosophy is indicative of the personalized service customers will find at the locally owned and operated Ocala, Florida bank. Aiming for customized service is the goal of First Avenue Bank says Hunt.
“When people call in during business hours, they will get a live person and not an automated answering machine,” adds Hunt.
Even more important, bank staff and officials promise to know your name and hope you’ll come to know their name as well. It’s that kind of personalized rapport the executive team hopes to foster as the company grows into a successful bank who remembers its local roots.
This sense of community starts at the top. John Hunt is a longtime local banker recently coming from Independent National Bank. Pat Moses, the bank’s Executive Vice President, is an Ocala native with 28 years of banking service with extensive commercial lending experience. Jason Welborn, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, also brings a diverse portfolio of banking experience to the dynamic trio. Add a top-notch staff to this group, and you’ve got a first-class team.
“We’re all about experience and competency and our board of directors reflects this, too,” adds Pat referring to his who’s who of board members, an impressive group of community leaders and volunteers.
Pat also points out that all bank executives are also owners of the bank, further illustrating the personal investment made by team members to ensure the bank’s success.
“We’ve personally invested in this bank so we’re not 9 to 5 bankers,” he says, “For us, this is a 24/7 livelihood and we’re here for the customer.”
It is this local control that sets First Avenue apart from the regional and national banks that have to seek corporate approval before granting loans to customers.
“Every decision is made here, not in some remote corporate office,” adds Jason.
And the customer has an impressive cadre of banking products at First Avenue. Since everyone has different needs, First Avenue has developed customized accounts to meet those individual needs. Personal checking accounts are offered at four different levels and business checking accounts provide companies with much needed flexibility. The Choice Business Checking account is a free business account, with no monthly maintenance fees and no transaction fees. Business savings accounts have also been designed to help area businesses achieve success through competitive money market accounts and other financial vehicles.
“I think it’s important to remember that the key to our bank is the relationship with our customers,” adds John.
And finding the bank is easy, too, with its current location conveniently located in downtown Ocala and just across the street from its future permanent site which promises to be a state-of-the-art building modern in design but appealing to every customer who enters. Of course, the 20,000 square foot building is scheduled to be located on the historic First Avenue, hence the bank’s nod to a little local history. Tenant space will be available to those seeking a prestigious new address.
Pat Moses sums it up nicely when reflecting on the bank’s commitment to the community.
“We, as a team, really want to leave a legacy that will be remembered and be meaningful for the people in this community,” he says.
One more reason to make First Avenue your first choice for all your banking needs.
First Avenue National Bank Board of Directors
John Q. Adams II, CPA, Adams & Booth, P.A.
Ken Ausley, Principal of Ausley Construction Company, Inc.
Dennis K. Baxley, State Representative and Principal of Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services
Katherine P. Glynn, CEO and General Counsel of Sag Harbor, Inc.
Dr. R. Craig Kuykendall, Heart Surgeon – Ocala Heart Institute, Inc.
Joe H. Pickens, State Representative
Don Stauss, Jr. , Co-Owner of Big D Roofing, Inc.
John R. Hunt, CEO, First Avenue National Bank
Patrick H. Moses, Executive Vice President/Senior Lender, First Avenue National Bank
Jason Welborn, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, First Avenue National Bank
Why First Avenue National Bank?
There are a host of financial institutions to choose from and many offer the same products and services. The difference between us and other financial institutions is how we offer those products and services. We are led by local people who have knowledge of the local community and have a commitment to the success of our friends, neighbors and businesses here. Often, in large banks, customers are recognized only by their account numbers and a single customer may not be relatively important to them. Because we are a local bank, you are very important to us and we will make every effort to meet your needs.
How Are We Different?
The significant aspect that distinguishes us is accessibility.
Our Live-Person Policy
If you call during business hours, a person will answer the phone. You won’t have to enter an account number or listen to a menu of options to reach us. The employee who answers will find out what you need and direct you to the right person. If the person is not available you will have the choice to either leave a message with the person who answered the phone or leave a voice mail.
Our Sunset Policy
If you call with a question and the individual you speak to cannot answer the question immediately, that employee will call you back the same day with a response. If it takes longer than the rest of the day to get the response, the employee will call you to let you know the status. You will always receive a call back from First Avenue National Bank the same day you call.
Our Direct Line Policy
Every person at First Avenue National Bank has his or her direct line phone number on his or her business card so you can always call that person directly. If the person you are calling is not available, you can either leave a voice mail message or exit to the Bank’s main number to speak to someone else who can help you.
Quick Loan Decisions
When you need a loan, we know you want a decision fast and from local people who have a perspective for the community. Our promise is to consider all aspects of a loan request and to respond promptly.
Friendly Service, Friendly Technology
Another way we differentiate ourselves from our competitors is by adding the features of a high-tech bank to our local bank with a warm welcome and accessibility. We offer a sophisticated level of on-line banking. You can see all of your transactions, pay bills, transfer funds from one account to another, and more on-line. We intend to stay ahead of the field when it comes to technology.
Who Runs First Avenue National Bank?
Compared to most banks, our board of directors is a little different. Our directors are younger, more energetic, and more visionary. They certainly are not a perfunctory rubber-stamp board. All are very proactive in finding ways to better serve you.
First Avenue National Bank
206 SW 10th Street
Ocala, Florida 34474