A bank building shuffle is about to take place in Fairlawn.
CFBank, headquartered in Fairlawn with four branches, has sold its building on the corner of Smith and Ghent roads to Westfield Bank.
That means Westfield will move from its location on West Market Street.
For CFBank, the unsolicited offer from Westfield Bank, which needed a bigger space, to buy its building was good timing, said Tim O’Dell, chief executive officer of Central Federal Corp., the parent company of CFBank.
The building was sold for $3.2 million.
The bank was looking to expand in Fairlawn in a move to support its growing Cleveland clientele, said O’Dell.
CFBank is in final negotiations to lease the former Citizens Bank branch on Smith Road, just a few hundred feet to the west of the bank’s current building, said O’Dell.
FirstMerit acquired Citizens Bank earlier this year and a few weeks ago closed six of its Citizens branches, including one on Smith Road.
CFBank is also in final negotiations to open a new branch near Beachwood Mall to serve Cleveland-area clients, O’Dell said.
“We were not looking to leave” the current building, said O’Dell. “We see this as a win-win all the way around.”
The former Citizens Bank branch is located in a retail strip mall on the end and has an ATM and drive-through — two things CFBank does not currently have.
“When the building was built, for whatever reason, they did not create an ATM,” said O’Dell, who with a group of investors last year bought CFBank and took over as management. O’Dell retired as president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank of Central Ohio in 2003.
O’Dell said he and other bank officials were thinking of adding an ATM before the offer came from Westfield.
“By selling this building, we’re able to have two locations,” he said.
The first floor of the existing CFBank has been used as a branch and headquarters space. The second floor has housed about six mortgage brokers for that CFBank unit. The business has about 22 brokers in offices in Fairlawn and Columbus. Two of the six will move to the new Fairlawn office and the other four will go to the new Cleveland-area office, said O’Dell. The mortgage business will remain on the second floor through January at the existing building.
O’Dell said he hopes to be in the new branch by the end of November. All retail workers and headquarters workers will move to the new Fairlawn location and the former branch manager for the Citizens Fairlawn branch will join CFBank.
The new Fairlawn branch will have about 10 people, O’Dell said.
Fairlawn will remain the headquarters for CFBank, which also has branches in Columbus, Wellsville and Calcutta in eastern Ohio, in addition to the new Cleveland-area branch. Thad R. Perry, Central Federal president, said the bank also wants to expand to Cincinnati.
“Fairlawn is our main branch location. We have a very large customer base here and it’s a unique opportunity to move to a branch” within a few hundred feet, Perry said. “It will increase our services.”
The bank’s focus is on small- to medium-sized privately held companies, offering full banking services. Perry and O’Dell said the growth in the Cleveland market has been good.
The bank’s financial health continues to improve, said O’Dell.
When the investor group purchased the bank last year, it was coming off several years of large losses. The bank, founded in 1892, had posted a loss every year but 2008 since 2003.
O’Dell said the bank with $250 million in assets and 67 employees has added about a dozen staffers in the last year.