Chanute bank finds downtown site for first Newton branch

By this time next year, Community National Bank & Trust will have a permanent location in Newton.

Officials from the Chanute-based, $782 million bank said Monday they hope to begin construction on a 5,500-square-foot building at 127 N. Main later this year.

The bank, which operates 21 branches in the state, including two in Butler County, acquired a former Dairy Queen there. Bank officials razed that building to build the new branch, the bank’s first in Harvey County.

“We’re really excited about having the opportunity to be in the Newton market, and we’re working with some folks (in Newton) on some projects right now,” said Dwight Ray, president of Community National’s Newton banking center.

The new branch is expected to have two drive-through lanes and a drive-up ATM, as well as three teller stations inside. There also will be safety deposit boxes, a boardroom and several offices.

Ray said architectural plans are being finalized and will have to be approved by a historical group and the city of Newton because the new building is located in a historical district. But Ray and Colin Rowell, regional president for Community National, expect groundbreaking to occur before the end of the year. Depending on weather, construction is expected to take at least nine months.

Lester Limon of PKHLS Architecture is the architect.

The bank is currently working out of a suite in the Old Mill, at 301 N. Main in Newton.

Ray said the bank will eventually have between 12 and 15 full-time equivalent employees. He has hired one lender, Allen Cooper, who started this week as a vice president for lending. Cooper was previously a commercial lender at Midland National Bank in Newton.

“I’m looking for a third person right now,” Ray said. “There are several people that we talked with.”