A new player has quietly entered the Cincinnati banking scene with both a familiar name and some familiar faces.

Town Square Bank, formed last year with the merger of Ashland, Ky.-based Home Federal Savings & Loan and Town Square Bank, and led by former Oak Hill Banks CEO Ralph E. “Gene” Coffman Jr., has established a lending office in Springdale staffed by two long-time local bankers.

It’s part of a broader strategy to create a regional bank in the market stretching from Ashland to Cincinnati and south to Lexington, Ky.

It’s familiar territory for Coffman, who assisted with the growth of Jackson, Ohio-based Oak Hill Banks into a $1.4 billion institution before it was acquired by Wheeling, W.Va.-based WesBanco Inc. in 2007.

“We think there’s a market. We’ve had success in the past in filling in some of the smaller community markets and going into metro areas, too,” says Coffman, who has spent more than 40 years in banking.

The Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky area is a highly competitive banking market, but Coffman says there’s still room for a community-based bank.

“Our pricing won’t be cheapest or highest,” he says. “Where we compete is on service. Our goal is to know our customers by their first name. There’s a niche there in the community bank market. We’re trying to be that type of institution. We think there’s a demand in the small business area. We’ll cater to them as much as possible.”

In 1999, Coffman led Oak Hills Banks in acquiring the former Blue Ash Building and Loan and renamed it Towne Bank, after the holding company that owned the thrift. At the time, Oak Hill Savings and Loan still operated in Cincinnati and the name Towne Bank was picked to avoid confusion.

Town Square Bank has its own long history in Ashland dating back to 1889. Home Savings took Town Square Bank’s name after the merger last year as part of a plan to convert the institutions to a publicly traded, federally chartered bank owned by Poage Bankshares Inc.

Town Square has about $450 million in assets today, but Coffman plans to grow the institution to $1 billion over time through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth.

Late last year it acquired Commonwealth Bank in Mt. Sterling, Ky., about half way between Ashland and Lexington, and continues to look for possible acquisitions.

Town Square’s plans call for establishing a full-service retail banking presence in Greater Cincinnati, but for now it has two experienced banking executives building its loan portfolio.

Jerry L. Gore has over 40 years experience working at the former Provident Bank, Fifth Third Bank and Towne Bank.

Jason T. Henry has over 20 years experience in local banking including Northside Bank & Trust, WesBanco and Oak Hill Banks. Their office is at 155 Tri-County Parkway, Suite 205, Springdale.

“We’re having good response,” says Coffman. “These two gentlemen have worked in the market for a long time so they have a customer base and we’re building it.”