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Ken Purvis, President of the DeSoto County division of Sycamore Bank, is a veteran of the banking industry with more than 30 years of experience.

Robert Long|DTT

Ken Purvis, President of Sycamore Bank in DeSoto County, is a main branch himself of the Sycamore Bank financial family tree, and the Senatobia-based bank is branching out as a major player in the financial market of the Mid-South.

What is exciting to Purvis is the current residential and commercial construction uptick in DeSoto County.

"I don't think we'll ever see the boom again," Purvis said, adding that he continues to be optimistic the entire industry is once again on the rebound. "With the crash in '08, we've definitely seen a comeback. There is a short supply of houses now. We've definitely seen an uptick in the housing market."

Purvis has seen his share of ups and downs in the housing market, as well as the financial markets, during the past three decades.

Purvis, a Greenville native, has spent more than 30 years in the banking industry. He graduated from Delta State University in 1987 with a degree in Business Administration and Management, and subsequently graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Banking in 1998.

After moving to Memphis in 1987, he began his banking career with Commercial Credit and became one of the youngest branch managers in the history of that institution.

Purvis spent a career with Trustmark Bank, beginning in 1992.

During those years, Purvis has been a part of lending capital to developers and homeowners alike.

As he sees it, he and Sycamore Bank have helped to build the Mid-South.

Sycamore Bank, formerly Bank of Senatobia, became creative in renaming its brand. Borrowing the English translation of the native Chickasaw word for Senatobia, Sycamore Bank now has five full-service branches in the greater DeSoto County region: Senatobia, Coldwater, Hernando, Southaven and Independence, with a loan production office in Oxford.

The former Bank of Senatobia started in 1900. Purvis joined Sycamore Bank in 2007.

Marketing DeSoto County comes as second nature to Purvis, who is married with two children. He is now in his second year as a board member with the DeSoto County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

DeSoto County is often described as a transitional market for many customers.

"We're seeing a lot of first-time homebuyers and empty nesters," Purvis said. "We're also seeing a lot of home improvement loans through the HELOC program, which is a home equity line of credit," Purvis said. "You may pay interest on what you draw. With a HELOC, you are more in control of that money. The flexibility of a HELC gives you the advantage and flexibility of (financing) what you do."

Purvis said many homeowners choose to renovate, which might include expanding a kitchen or den, adding a sunroom or installing a pool.

"I would say that is the case with the younger professional group that is moving here," Purvis said.

Residents have found that the convenience of DeSoto County to larger retail and professional centers is appealing, according to Purvis.

"You are 10 minutes from the airport and you're in a safe, friendly environment," Purvis said.

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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