The bank’s goal is to open the branch in January
Those who have traveled through downtown Salem recently have likely noticed that a new building in starting to take shape at the corner of N Main Street and Chestnut Street. The new structure will eventually house Ridge View Bank’s first full-service branch, which will be approximately 2,600 square feet.
The Salem location, which used to be a carwash, will be what the bank calls a “SMART center,” meaning that it will be high-tech and client focused. Instead of having traditional teller lines, it will have more of a coffee shop type setting.
Carrie McConnell, president, noted that Ridge View Bank is trying to approach banking differently, instead of doing it the same way it has always been done.
“I thought the location was prime for what we were looking for and what I thought the community needed,” McConnell said.
The bank hopes to open the Salem branch in January.
Ridge View Bank, a division of Pennsylvania-based CNB Bank, entered the Roanoke Valley market last year.
The bank is currently doing small business and commercial lending. As soon as the Salem branch is open, the bank will start taking deposits.
“Given the fluctuation in the banking landscape over the past few years, there is tremendous potential for a new bank driven by a strong focus on meeting the financial needs of businesses and individuals in the way only a community bank can deliver,” Joseph B. Bower, Jr., president and CEO of CNB Bank, said last year when the bank was first announced. “That begins with Carrie’s direct involvement as Ridge View Bank President in helping area companies grow by quickly funding their space expansion, new equipment, and increased employment needs.”
McConnell is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley, having lived in Roanoke and Salem for the last 25 years. The New River Valley native currently resides in Salem.
She attended Roanoke College, where she played basketball. She graduated with a business degree.
She has over 20 years of banking experience in the area, having started her career at Salem Bank and Trust. When the bank was acquired by another company, McConnell completed a two-year management program. She then decided to pursue a commercial lending route.
In 2006, she was presented with an opportunity to go to a start-up bank in Roanoke. HomeTown Bank was built up over the years, until it was acquired in 2018.
She stayed on at the bank as a senior vice president of commercial lending, until she was recruited to run Ridge View Bank.
“It was a wonderful opportunity for me because at Hometown Bank we started off with limited capital and resources, but this bank is backed by a bank out of Pennsylvania called CNB,” she said. “They do start-up banks. They have the capital and the infrastructure in place.”
Corporate-wide, CNB Bank has roughly 720 employees.
“It was the perfect scenario for me,” she said. She started in June of last year.
One of her early tasks was getting to name the bank.
“We’ve hit the ground running,” she said. Ridge View Bank currently has 11 employees, with the goal of hiring “substantially more” employees.
“I am committed to ensuring that Ridge View Bank is more than just a financial institution. Ridge View will be a true community partner, one that collaborates with our local governments, civic and religious organizations, and schools to make sure our families and friends have what they need to thrive here in Southwest Virginia,” McConnell said when her appointment as president was announced. “Our management team and advisory board members are located here in Roanoke but have the support of a $5 billion bank holding company behind us, making this an ideal commercial banking solution for our communities.”
Salem will not be the bank’s only local branch. Construction on a 3,600-square-foot branch at Smith Mountain Lake will start soon. Additionally, an announcement about the site location in Roanoke for the bank’s 17,000-square-foot regional headquarters was made last week. It will be located at 3531 Franklin Road.
The bank’s plan, McConnell said, is to grow as much as it can over the next five to 10 years.
“We all live in this community. We’re known in this community. Being in the market and being able to get things turned around quickly for clients is important. We understand our clients,” she said.
McConnell noted that she wants the public to know that the bank is dedicated to giving back to the community. The bank has made donations to over 25 local nonprofits since entering the market.