Vogelaar at Mountain Valley

Senior vice president leaves position at Community First

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Dean Vogelaar has been named senior vice president and chief operating officer of Mountain Valley Bank, which opened Monday in the Elk River Crossing commercial center on Steamboat Springs' west side.

Vogelaar leaves a position at Community First National Bank to take his new job. He will run the new branch bank on a day-to-day basis and report to President and CEO Terry Jost.

Vogelaar said the new bank, part of a small group in Northwest Colorado with ties to a chain of banks in western Nebraska, intends to carve out a niche locally by working on narrower margins than larger corporate banks.

"My boss told me, 'Let's make good business decisions and let's keep the character in banking,'" Vogelaar said. "We want to do very personal banking."

Mountain Valley Bank has its roots in a transaction that took place in April when Platte Valley Financial Services of Scottsbluff, Neb., acquired North Park Bancshares Inc. of Walden.

Platte Valley CEO Hod Kosman said his company also planned to open banks under the Mountain Valley Bank name in Steamboat, Hayden and Meeker, in addition to Walden.

"Having come to that part of the state for the last 25 years, we have witnessed its growth and the maturing market there," Kosman said. "We've always loved the valley. It's a natural move for us."

Platte Valley operates eight banks in Nebraska and eastern Wyoming. Kosman owns a home here.

Jost, who most recently served as branch manager and commercial/agricultural and real estate lender at First National Bank of the Rockies in Hayden, will oversee the banks in Walden, Steamboat, Hayden and Meeker while remaining based in Hayden, Vogelaar said.

The new Hayden branch is under construction.

Vogelaar said the new Mountain Valley Bank near the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Elk River Road is well-situated to pursue the growing number of commercial accounts on the city's west side.

Vogelaar has been in the banking industry for four years after leaving a position with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association to join Community First. He credited his colleagues there with bringing him along.

"Paul Clavadetscher and Rhonda George spent a lot of time working with me, and I'll always be grateful for that," Vogelaar said. "They are both good bankers, and I've remembered everything they taught me."

However, Vogelaar acknowledged the acquisition of 155 Community First branches in March by BancWest, a subsidiary of multinational Paris-based BNP Paribas, was a factor in his decision to change jobs.

"I think that working for Mountain Valley Bank, with the personality of the bank, fits my style better, and I fit their style better," Vogelaar said. "That's not to say large corporate banks aren't good."

Vogelaar can be reached at 870-6550.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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