Forest Park National Bank is venturing east, with plans to open a full-service branch near a busy Oak Park intersection.
The financial institution has a contract to purchase the long-vacant lot at 715 South Blvd., Daniel Watts, the bank’s president, confirmed Tuesday. Closing the deal is contingent upon village approval, he said, but they hope to start work in the next 45 days, and finish in as little as a year.
“We’re thrilled to have a site in Oak Park,” Watts said. “It’s a logical growth direction for us. It’s something that will help Forest Park (National) continue to grow. With all the changes in the banking landscape in Oak Park, I think having another locally owned and locally managed institution is great for the neighborhood, great for the village, great for us.”
Forest Park National currently has two Forest Park locations, its main facility on Madison Street and a branch and drive-up on Roosevelt Road and Circle Avenue. The bank has also expressed interest in being part of a condo development at Lake Street and Lathrop Avenue in River Forest, but Watts said that’s likely a “long way off,” because of the tough housing market.
Watts is the former executive vice president of the now-defunct Park National Bank. He grew up in Oak Park and attended Fenwick. He now lives in River forest.
The South Boulevard site was planned to be part of a new-construction condo development that was never built, after it and several neighboring properties fell into foreclosure.