Red River Bank said it plans to expand into Lafayette by opening a loan production office in the current quarter and follow it with a full-service branch in the next year.
The Alexandria-based bank hired Ben Smith to serve as Lafayette market president. Smith has been working in the Lafayette banking market for 10 years, and has spent the past five years as senior vice president of commercial lending for Pedestal Bank. Pedestal was recently acquired by b1Bank.
Red River Bank has grown to be a $2.4 billion business by growing organically and moving into the major metro areas of Louisiana, Smith said. So entering the Lafayette market continues that strategic plan.
Red River Bank, founded in 1999, has 25 branches across the state, concentrated in Alexandria, Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and the north shore.
“This helps fill in the gap between Alexandria, Lake Charles and Baton Rouge,” Smith said. “We have some key relationships in this area and we have clients that have locations in Lafayette. This allows us to start taking care of clients that are already in that region.”
The bank plans to have a location for a loan production office finalized in the next couple of weeks. That office would operate until a full-service branch opens in the next year, Smith said. Red River Bank used a similar model when it expanded into Covington in 2019.
As far as future branch growth in Lafayette, Smith said that will depend on what the market dictates. “There are a lot of changes happening in the market right now, regarding how banking is being handled through technology,” he said.
The number of people who will initially work for Red River Bank in Lafayette isn't known yet, he said.
Red River Bank is looking for properties that are centrally located in Lafayette, he said.