Steamboat Springs The intended bank merger announced in early December 2011 is complete, and the former Steamboat branch of Millennium Bank now is part of the nine-branch Centennial Bank.
Paul Clavadetscher, president of the Steamboat location, said his management team has been through the merger process before and is well prepared to make the transition smooth for customers.
“The first thing my employees asked me was, ‘Do I have a job?’ and I said, ‘Yes.’” Clavadetscher said Wednesday. “Next, they asked, ‘Do my colleagues have a job?’ and again I said, ‘Yes.’ Our customers want to know if we’ve become part of a giant bank, and the answer is, 'Definitely not.'”
Michael D. Williams, executive vice president of Centennial’s mountain banks, wrote on the company Web page this month that although the signs of the banks have changed to reflect the merger, bank customers wouldn’t see any changes until the second phase is launched.
“It's important to point out that there will be no changes to your accounts until Phase Two, when we change the bank's systems,” Williams wrote. “You can continue to use your Millennium Bank checks, debit and credit cards. There will also be no immediate changes to your direct deposit, automatic loan payments, online banking logins and passwords or bill pay. We will notify you well in advance when we begin planning the next phase of merging our bank systems to make the transition as smooth as possible for you.”
The Steamboat branch moved into a new $2.5 million location in Wildhorse Marketplace in July 2010, and growing into a larger bank has been part of the strategic plan of Edwards-based Millennium since 2005, Clavadetscher said. In addition to Steamboat and Edwards, Millennium brought mountain locations in Vail, Winter Park-Fraser and Breckenridge as well as a south Denver location in Englewood to the newly expanded Centennial. The merger, which was truly a merger and not a takeover, Clavadetscher said, adds a Denver location on 17th Street in the heart of downtown and in Centennial at Arapahoe Road. The newest Centennial location is in Boulder, a location that should prove convenient for college students from Steamboat attending the University of Colorado Boulder, Clavadetscher predicted.
While a synergy between mountain resort towns and the Front Range as well as improved customer convenience is an important aspect of the merger, the ability of the two banks to combine their assets and increase their capitalization is significant, Clavadetscher said. Millennium brought $250 million in assets to the marriage and Centennial another $150 million. The combined assets of $400 million still leave Centennial in the category of a small bank and well short of its goal of $1 billion in capitalization, but the merger will help satisfy bank regulators who increasingly want banks in resort towns to increase their capitalization because of the risk now associated with second home mortgages, he added.
Clavadetscher said his bank has avoided most of the foreclosure trend that continues to affect the Routt County real estate market, needing to foreclose on just one customer who had two loans with the bank. Those properties since have been sold, he said.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com