FirstBank, Vectra eye Glenwood Springs locations | AspenTimes.com

FirstBank, Vectra eye Glenwood Springs locations

John Stroud
Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Two of Colorado’s largest banking organizations are making a move in the Glenwood Springs market. FirstBank is set to buy property and open its first bank in the community, and Vectra Bank will expand its presence with a prominent downtown location.

Vectra Bank, which already has a small facility in West Glenwood, is preparing to open a new full-service branch next month in a 2,400-square-foot, first-floor space at the historic Citizen’s Bank building at 801 Grand Ave.

“We have seen a great deal of success with our current facility, but we need a bigger location to be able to expand our services,” said Shawn Cole, community bank director for Vectra Bank in Colorado. “It’s critical that we offer a better avenue to expand services and products in the Glenwood Springs market, which is a big component for our success in that area.”

Vectra also has banking locations in El Jebel, Aspen and Snowmass Village. Part of the Zions Bank corporation based in Salt Lake City, Vectra Bank Colorado has 39 locations and reports $2.3 billion in assets, according to Cole.

The downtown Glenwood Springs space formerly housed WestStar Bank following an extensive remodel in the late 1990s.

With the help of a historic preservation grant, the renovation incorporated much of the original 1913 interior and facade design. The building is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

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“We did have to accommodate some of our newer technology needs, but we also tried to preserve as much of nostalgia of the old bank design as we could,” Cole said of the interior space, which Vectra will be leasing.

Meanwhile, Colorado’s second largest bank, FirstBank, is under contract to purchase the two-acre site at 2014 Grand Ave., where the Glenwood Springs Post Independent offices are currently located. The Post Independent is planning to relocate its offices elsewhere in town later this year, pending closing on the property sale.

FirstBank is in the initial design phases to build a new 5,000-square-foot bank building on the site, which would serve as the bank’s first Roaring Fork Valley location.

“We have successful operations in Eagle and Summit counties, and we view the mountain communities as good, long-term markets for us,” said Dave Baker, president of the Lakewood-based FirstBank.

“Moving into the Roaring Fork Valley seems like a natural extension of our longer-term growth plans,” he said. “We had always approached Glenwood Springs as the first place we would go when we make that move.”

FirstBank has a strong presence along the Front Range and, as of 2010, was second only to Wells Fargo Bank among the top 10 banks in Colorado, with a reported $11 billion in assets and 127 locations in Colorado, Arizona and California.

Baker said the bank ideally hopes to be able to break ground on the new building and related drive-through facilities in time to open by summer or fall of 2012.

The bank will likely employ a staff of about six or seven people, including bank officers, to start.

Likewise, Vectra’s Cole said the company will expand staff from three currently to about five. “As we grow, we will continue to add to that,” he said.

Both banks also emphasize community involvement, both in terms of monetary donations and personal involvement in community organizations.

Throughout Colorado, FirstBank gave $4.2 million to various nonprofit organizations last year, Baker said.

“Part of our business model is to be involved,” he said.

Said Vectra’s Cole, “We’ve always felt very strongly about supporting our communities. We encourage our employees to be as involved in as many organizations or groups as possible, and we do try to support various groups and nonprofits as much as we can.”

The new Vectra Bank facility is scheduled to open on July 11.

jstroud@postindependent.com

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