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EXPANSION PLAN Cortland Bank branches out



Published: Fri, September 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Bank officials think Boardman is big enough for two branches.

By DON SHILLING

VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR

BOARDMAN -- Cortland Savings and Banking Co. plans to open its second branch in Boardman as it continues a gradual expansion beyond Trumbull County.

The new branch will be built inside a plaza under construction on South Avenue just north of U.S. Route 224.

Rodger Platt, bank chief executive, said the branch is part of a plan to expand both in Mahoning County and other areas.

The Cortland-based bank opened its first Boardman branch on South Avenue near Western Reserve Road in 1997. Platt said bank officials think Boardman is large enough for two branches. The new branch is expected to be open in the first three months of next year, but it still must receive approval from bank regulators.

Plans: The construction of other branches in the area will be evaluated once the new branch is open and operating, Platt said.

Bank officials want to expand but aren't in a hurry, he said.

Other area banks, such as Home Savings and Loan Co. of Youngstown, Second National Bank of Warren and Farmers National Bank of Canfield, have been buying other banks. First Place Bank of Warren is the creation of the merger of FFY Bank of Boardman and First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Warren.

"We're a little more methodical," Platt said. "It's our style. We're conservative. We've been here since 1892, and we're planning to be here another 100 years."

He said, however, that an acquisition is possible if the right opportunity arose.

"The ones that have approached us have not been suitable," he said.

Other possible areas for new branches include Geauga and Columbiana counties, he said.

The bank also has branches in Portage and Ashtabula counties. It has 12 branches.

Developer: The new branch is to be part of a plaza being built by Dr. Larry Liguore, an oral surgeon who has an office in Warren and one right behind the construction site.

Liguore said the plaza will have 16,000 square feet, with about 3,000 to be taken by the bank. He said he has had interest from retailers and professionals, but the plaza's exterior design will be geared toward retailers. His office will remain where it is.

Liguore said the success of his first plaza on Market Street and traffic congestion on Route 224 persuaded him to build this plaza.

"Local merchants are getting lost on 224. Customers can't find them easily," he said.

His first plaza, called Rosewood, is the home to his wife's store, Children's Loft, and other retailers. The 12,000-square-foot plaza north of Route 224 has one location available.

shilling@vindy.com




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