Hayden residents soon will have a new option for their banking needs.
Representatives of Mountain Valley Bank, a new banking chain focused in Northwest Colorado, broke ground Thursday on their new building in front of the Hayden Mercantile.
Mercantile owners Bill and Andrea Hayden are developing the location, which is scheduled for completion Dec. 1. The bank plans to open a temporary facility in the Mercantile on Aug. 9.
"It's nice to have the smaller businesses open up. They are the key to a small town's life and future," said Hayden Mayor Chuck Grobe, who was present at the groundbreaking.
The Mountain Valley Bank chain formed when local banker Terry Jost, formerly of First National Bank of the Rockies in Hayden, joined forces with other bankers from Northwest Colorado and Nebraska to purchase the North Park State Bank in Walden in June.
The project included plans for full-service banks in Steamboat, Meeker, Hayden and Walden. The Steamboat location, in the former Rock, Rattle 'n' Stroll space in Curve Plaza, opened Monday, though remodel work will not be complete until the bank's official opening, which is planned for Aug. 2.
Hod Kosman, chairman of Mountain Valley Bank's board of directors, said the banks' regional focus will create a sense of synergy between employees and the clients they serve.
"Efforts in terms of economic development and community development can be stronger and more effective," said Kosman, who is president and CEO of the banks' parent company, Platte Valley Financial Service Companies of Scottsbluff, Neb.
The Walden bank opened under the new name in late June and the Meeker bank, managed by Bruce Clatterbaugh, is open in a temporary location. Jost will manage the Walden, Steamboat and Hayden banks.
Mountain Valley Bank is designed to address the banking needs of small-town residents and business owners whose financial situations require a more personal approach from bankers, Jost said.
"There's a large segment of the town that's not being taken care of," said Jost, who said the centralization of banks into big companies has come at the cost of clients' service.
Jost has been a resident of Hayden for about four years. He moved from Corydon, Ohio, where he owned and operated a bank for about 20 years. He left his bank manager position at First National Bank of the Rockies in the spring to start Mountain Valley Bank.
While small communities such as Walden, Meeker and Hayden may not seem obvious choices for a bank venture, company executives recognized the potential for future growth in the areas.
"We think Northwest Colorado is really set to prosper and grow, and we want to be part of it," Kosman said.
At the same time, Jost is focused on building a close relationship between the banks and the communities they serve.
"We're not trying to be the biggest kid on the block. We're content to make less money and put that into the community," Jost said.
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