Citizens First Bank Branch Is Set to Open in Middleton

The bank will be one of the first businesses at Downtown Middleton when it opens this summer.

By Summer Jarro Ι Daily Sun Senior Writer Ι May 6, 2024

Citizens First Bank is expanding to the Middleton family neighborhood.

The hometown community bank is set to open at Downtown Middleton this summer, said Courtney Gage, vice president, market manager of Citizens First Bank. The new location at 7551 Middleton Drive will be the bank’s 17th branch office in the tri-county area.

“We will have everything that you think of when you think of a Citizens First Bank,” Gage said, including an ATM, a drive-thru and more. “It will be focused on our family neighborhood at Middleton and we are very excited to be there because of our partnership with The Villages Charter School.”

The location will serve as a hub for students at The Villages High School in the Business & Banking Academy.

It also will offer services catered to those part of the Buffalo family, including the bank’s Buffalo Charity Checking account, which supports the Buffalo Scholarship Foundation.

Since the Buffalo Charity Checking account launched in 2017, the bank has donated more than $40,600 to the foundation, said Michelle Crawford, vice president, marketing officer of Citizens First Bank.

The branch will offer youth savings and youth checking accounts available among other services. Wealth management services will also be available from Citizens First Wealth Advisors and made available through Osaic Institutions, Inc.

“We build branches where The Villages needs us and where there’s support of the community,” said Jay Bartholomew, CEO and president of Citizens First Bank. “So we’re excited about that opportunity not only to be early, but just to be there as they build out the downtown and that populates with new businesses. We will already be there to serve them, obviously the neighborhood and the students and the residents. Being able to serve them at that location is exciting and abundantly convenient.”

Opening a new branch isn’t the only way the bank is growing.

Bank deposits grew by 56% to about $3.1 billion over the five years ending on Dec. 31, 2023, according to federal bank data.

The bank is built upon strong leadership, said Alex Sanchez, former president of the Florida Bankers Association.

“When you achieve this type of success, it shows they work as a team, work together to serve the community,” he said. “Their record speaks for itself. This growth doesn’t occur by happenstance. It means customers are satisfied with the service they’re getting.”

Citizens First Bank joins 4 Rivers Smokehouse and announced businesses coming to Downtown Middleton.

The downtown district will cater not only to the families who live in Middleton, but to the entire Villages community, said Geno Jarquin, director of commercial development for The Villages.

“We’re actively working on deals to implement our strategic plan for Middleton, but we want Villagers to know this is a place for them too,” he said.

Other businesses on the horizon include a grocery store, hotel, pharmacy, gas station/convenience store, hair salon, coffee shop, ice cream shop, family gastro pub, Italian restaurant, pizzeria, sub shop, sushi restaurant and a breakfast/lunch restaurant.