Steamboat’s Yampa Valley Bank named 2010 Business of the Year |

Steamboat’s Yampa Valley Bank named 2010 Business of the Year

Mike Lawrence

Yampa Valley Bank will be honored today as this year's recipient of the Navigator Award for Business of the Year.
Matt Stensland

— Amid an economic recession that's spelled trouble for banks and their customers across the country, Yampa Valley Bank has done more than stay afloat in 2010.

"We've been able to avoid any material losses at our bank, and I compliment the prudence of our customers in that regard," said Tim Borden, one of the bank's many local owners and chairman of its board of directors.

Borden cited "problem loans," collection challenges and foreclosures that in recent months have been the bane of banks — most banks, anyway.

"We just haven't experienced any of that at all," he said. "We have one foreclosure property, in Craig. … Most of our assets, most of our money, is lent out to customers within the commun­­­ity, but we've been very fortunate not to see the losses."

Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Asso­­ciation, cited the bank's success and the community involvement of its staff and owners in her praise of Yampa Valley Bank as the 2010 Business of the Year.

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The Chamber and the Ste­­amboat Pilot & Today will present the bank with a Navigator Award during the Chamber's 103rd annual meeting and luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort.

Yampa Valley Bank has one location in Steamboat Springs and one in Craig. Borden said the bank has 40 local owners and 17 board members.

"Yampa Valley Bank has stood out in our minds for several years — the unique ownership of the bank has played well in this community," Evans Hall said. "They've been very supportive of their staff in terms of their professional growth and involvement in the community."

Borden and Ed MacArthur, also a local owner, said Yampa Valley Bank's success starts with the people paid to walk through its doors every day.

"What stands out in my mind is the staff," MacArthur said. "When you consider so many problems so many other banks are having … the staff has done a great job at managing every facet of the bank."

"My compliments and my hat is really off to PJ Wharton and the staff and employees who have really represented our bank very well," Borden echoed.

Wharton is the bank's president and chief executive officer. He emphasized how Yampa Valley Bank is more than a financial institution. It is a major sponsor of community events including the 4-H Junior Livestock Sale, Steamboat Springs High School athletic programs, the Winter Carnival Night Extravaganza and street events, Fourth of July fireworks show and dozens of other events and nonprofit organizations.

Plus, bank employees play significant roles in many of those organizations.

"Every one of my officers is either on a board or very active in a community nonprofit organization," Wharton said. "But it's got to be something they're passionate about. It's something they need to love and be committed to, not just because we told them to.

"The bottom line is these associations are our neighbors and our friends. Our mission is to be a community bank that works here, lives here and gives back."

Customer Scott Fox, who owns Freshies with his wife, Kristy, said the bank has been instrumental in their restaurant's development throughout the years. The Foxes are in the middle of interior and exterior renovations at Freshies, which they hope to reopen before Thanksgiving with improvements including a new roof.

"Those guys are quality, man," Scott Fox said about staff at Yampa Valley Bank, where he said he always feels recognized and at home. "They've been with us every step of the way."

Borden said the bank is open to expansion beyond its current two locations.

"We are listed as a bank that's eligible to purchase or bid on banks should there be a problem in our market areas," Borden said. "We've looked, frankly, at a couple of different opportunities this year, but we plan to stay in the Yampa Valley, and if we see an opportunity, we very much have an intention of going (after it)."

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