662-843-3432       MAILING: PO Box 117, Cleveland MS 38732       OFFICE: 125 S. Court St., Cleveland MS 38732

October 24, 2020

Banking on the Riverside

Meeting the needs of Rosedale and Benoit

by MARK H. STOWERS

The Bolivar BulletThe Great Flood of 1927 and The Great Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 have one thing in common – neither could stop banking along the riverside in Bolivar County. The Bank of Benoit – now Genesis Bank – opened its doors in 1904. The First National Bank of Rosedale was established in 1915. It was acquired in 2010 by Jefferson Bank. Both banks have been up to the challenges of its geographical position along the river both have withstood the recent pandemic challenges.

Melissa Wasson, Vice President and compliance officer for Southeast Arkansas Bank Corporation that owns The Jefferson Bank, notes the branch has been busy despite the pandemic.

“Everything has been great there,” said Wasson. “We focus on ag loans primarily but we are a retail bank offering plenty of benefits and services to all of our customers including online banking.”

Alice Herbison, who led the Bank of Benoit as it’s President and CEO is now the President of the Benoit Genesis Bank location. The noted COVID has caused a few changes but day-to-day business is getting done and going strong. 

“The only thing that has changed for us is that we are drive thru only. Our lobby is closed,” said Herbison. “If you need to come in and talk to an officer of sign a loan, you just call in and make an appointment and we’ll be glad to let you in.”

The Jefferson Bank’s origins are in Fayette, Mississippi before the Southeast Arkansas Bank Corporation bought the bank and opened branches in Greenville and Rosedale. The branch in Fayette was closed in 2017 and their main bank is now on Reed Road in Greenville. Surviving COVID has been much the same at Jefferson Bank according to Wasson.

“We have dealt very well with coronavirus. Our lobbies are closed and we accept appointments only,” said Wasson. “We’ve worked with our customers and we haven’t had any issues. We are just as busy as we were before.”

Jefferson Bank offers a full line of online banking amenities as well as debit cards. 

A group of individuals purchased the Bank of Benoit this past summer and changed the name but still provide top notch customer service. Even though Genesis Bank has one window at its drive thru, customers and bank employees have been working together to meet customers needs. 

“We only have one lane to go thru and our customers have been very tolerant about a few cars lined up. They are patient waiting in line. We do have some customers who walk up and may not have a car,” said Herbison.

Herbison also explained that with the new ownership, the bank will soon offer new services.

“Next year we’ll have debit cards and online banking. It’s affording us the opportunity to offer our customers more services,” she said. 

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