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Centra Bank moving HQ to Mount Aetna area

October 15, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- Next year, Centra Bank expects to move its local headquarters from Pennsylvania Avenue to an office that will be built at Dual Highway and Mount Aetna Road.

The bank will open a full-service branch at the same location.

Asad Ghattas' development company, Ghattas Enterprises, is building three stories of office space at 1219 Mount Aetna Road, near Pizza Hut.

The building will be about 25,000 square feet. Centra Bank will use about 8,000 square feet, President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy G. Henry said.

Ghattas said Thursday that he doesn't have other tenants lined up yet.

He expects to break ground in about a month.

Centra, which formed in Morgantown, W.Va., opened its first local branch on Frederick Street in Hagerstown in 2007.

The second branch opened on North Pointe Drive, north of Hagerstown, three weeks ago.

In a news release, Michael A. Murray, president of the bank's board of directors, said plans for the new headquarters were nearly complete when the North Pointe Drive branch opened.

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"We were close to a deal on the new office at that time so it was hard to contain our excitement...," Murray said in the release. "Because we have a great local board and management team that knows and understands the Hagerstown community, we immediately recognized the benefits that this site brings to our customers. We are excited about continuing our growth in this location."

Henry and Mark D. Harrell, the president and chief operating officer, formerly worked for Hagerstown Trust Co.

Centra Bank currently has 18 employees in the county. With the Dual Highway branch, the company expects to add about six more employees, Harrell said.

After starting at zero, Centra passed $100 million in assets this year, Henry said.

He said the bank's local management team makes decisions, focusing on Washington County. "It's small, localized lending," he said.

Another financial institution, Susquehanna Bank, is moving its corporate headquarters farther east on Dual Highway -- to a 55,000-square-foot Ghattas Enterprises building where the Red Horse Steak House & Anvil Bar once stood.

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