A small local bank’s CEO search is over, as it found a permanent replacement for its top post in the mountains of North Carolina.
Powhatan-based New Horizon Bank recently installed Thomas Bourque as its new chief executive, filling a seat left by founding CEO Jimmy Keller, who resigned last June and has since joined a competitor.
Bourque arrived in Powhatan in late November via Waynesville, North Carolina, where he had been head of lending at the former Oldtown Bank, prior to its acquisition by larger competitor Entegra Bank.
“Mr. Keller left this bank in pretty good condition and the economy is going well right now,” Bourque said. “We’re going to capitalize on a lot of good things.”
His hiring allows New Horizon chief financial officer Kathy Grasty to relinquish the interim CEO role she held since the summer, while continuing in her CFO post. Grasty led the $78 million bank through the initial phases of its plan for a new, showpiece branch that’s being constructed in Stoneridge, a new commercial development from the real estate arm of the Luck Cos.
A Louisiana native and graduate of University of Louisiana Lafayette, Bourque’s banking career spans three decades. He said his two longest stints were at the former Bank One, which was absorbed by J.P. Morgan Chase, and Compass Bank in Birmingham, Alabama.
The New Horizon gig is his first stint as CEO and his first time at length in Virginia.
Bourque said the makeup of New Horizon is familiar to him from his days at Oldtown Bank.
The Waynesville bank was founded in 2007, just prior to the recession, and grew to around $100 million in assets. New Horizon was launched in 2009 and Bourque said his goal is to get the bank to $100 million in assets and beyond.
“It was a little larger than Powhatan and completely engaged in community banking,” he said of his previous hometown and former employer.
“We need to hit $100 million. That’s the first magic number. Then we’ll get this thing to $200 million and customers and shareholders will be very happy.”
Bourque said the new Stoneridge branch will help achieve that goal.
The 3,700-square-foot building is under construction on 1.5 acres 1906 Anderson Highway. It will replace New Horizon’s current home branch 3 miles west and is expected to be complete by June.
As for other changes at New Horizon on his watch, Bourque said the bank will look to get more efficient in its back office and offer new products.
“We’ll be putting the troops where they need to be and getting out and doing the right things in the community,” he said. “That’s something the bank has been doing, we just need to be doing it more efficiently.”
Keller, New Horizon’s former head, has joined Citizens Bank & Trust, a $365 million bank based in Blackstone, Virginia. He’s manning the bank’s new loan production office in Powhatan.