First National Bank of the Rockies has a new regional president and is poised to break ground on its permanent location on Anglers Drive.
Steamboat banking veteran Greg Dixson is the new regional president for Northwest Colorado. He will oversee offices in Steamboat, Craig, Meeker, Hayden and Oak Creek.
The bank, which was chartered in Meeker in 1904, also has offices in Rangely and Grand Junction.
The bank opened a Steamboat storefront location in Sundance at Fish Creek shopping center in spring 2004, and officials announced plans to build a permanent bank not far away on the north side of Anglers Drive. Construction at the site is scheduled to begin as soon as this week if the weather permits.
Dixson takes over the role previously held by Bill Leeson, who will continue to work with his successor through the end of the year. After that, Leeson intends to semi-retire and remain active with FNBR by working on special bank projects.
Leeson will oversee the construction of the new Steamboat building while Dixson gets up to speed with customers and staff in five communities, Dixson said.
"Keep in mind, First National Bank of the Rockies has had customers in Steamboat for more than 30 years," Dixson said. "This is really the pinnacle of my career, and I want to keep Bill available to help me as long as I can. You don't very often get the luxury of this kind of transition."
When FNBR arrived as the sixth bank in Steamboat Springs, Leeson called the town an attractive market because the growth in population exceeds the construction rate. That's a sign that second-home owners who already have strong ties to the city are retiring here permanently. U.S. Census figures also show that people here have bank deposit rates that are two to three times the national average, he said.
The bank's business has exceeded projections, and officials anticipate adding more office space in the Sundance location before opening the new bank, he said.
The new bank was de----signed by Don Brinkmann of Eric Smith Associates. It will be situated just east of McDonald's.
The 8,400-square-foot building will have a full basement as well as a main floor. A second story will be available for lease and could accommodate future bank expansion. The exterior will feature stucco, wood siding, stone and timbers. A modest tower will accent a corner entrance to the building.
Dixson has worked in banking and commercial lending for 18 years, and was the president of Vectra Bank in Steamboat. He said he was drawn to FNBR's investment in technology, its willingness to empower its staff and its long history on Colorado's Western Slope.
"First National Bank of the Rockies has a customer-centered philosophy, a great menu of products and services and the technology to assist us in taking care of our customers," Dixson said.
FNBR is owned by a bank holding company -- FNBR Holding Corporation. Its board of directors includes Peter Waller of Meeker, Timothy Mather of Glenwood Springs and J. Gentry of Rifle.
The branch manager in Steamboat is Bob Kauffmann.