Carson branch a longstanding plan for First Independent

Executives of First Independent Bank of Nevada had been talking for at least six years about their hope to open a branch in Carson City.

The Reno-based company took the step last week, leasing a location previously occupied by a branch of Irwin Union Bank at 1818 E. College Parkway.

But far more important than the availability of real estate was the recruitment of former Irwin Union Bank staff in Carson City, said Jim DeVolld, president and chief executive officer of First Independent Bank.

"People bank with bankers," DeVolld said. "They don't bank with a bank."

The Carson City branch will be overseen by Greg Nixon, who was named vice president and area relationship manager with First Independent.

Nixon is a longtime Carson City banker who most recently worked with Irwin Union Bank and with First Financial Bank after Irwin Union failed last year and was taken over by First Financial.

First Financial Bank closed its Reno office this month, and exited the Carson City market on Friday.

A seven-member team, all of them former Irwin Union employees, will staff the new First Independent Bank branch. Nixon said their combined experience totals 130 years in the banking industry.

The 5,200-square-foot location includes drive-up teller windows and an ATM.

The branch is the seventh for First Independent Bank, which also operates locations in Reno, Sparks, Spanish Springs and Fallon.

DeVolld said executives of the bank have been interested in a Carson City location for several years.

"But we couldn't hire the right banking team," he said. "This opportunity is perfect for both Greg Nixon's team and our bank."

At the middle of 2009, the Irwin Union Bank branch in Carson City reported deposits of $76 million, roughly 7 percent of the Carson City market.

Western Alliance Bancorporation of Las Vegas is the parent company of First Independent Bank of Nevada.

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