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First National banks on a new building

Oak Creek financial establishment moves into new home

— When First National Bank of the Rockies held its grand opening in Oak Creek last week, Ken Recker knew one thing was missing.

Recker, the new president of First National in Oak Creek, ordered a set of moose antlers to hang above the entrance of the bank’s new building.

The antlers, he said, would typify the town’s character while adding the finishing touch to months of construction and anticipation.



But the antlers won’t arrive from Canada for another month and a half.

“They’ve got to get through customs,” he said of the 52-inch-wide decoration.



Minus the antlers, bank employees, town officials and visitors gathered Wednesday morning at the bank’s entrance for a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The ceremony kicked off three days of celebrating the completion of First National’s new building in Oak Creek.

When First National came to Oak Creek two years ago, it opened for business in a historical section of town, at the corner of Sharp Avenue and Colfax Street.

Demand for the bank’s services outgrew the size of the building.

The new facility, located on the east end of Main Street, offers more than three times the space of the old location with the addition of drive-up banking and safe deposit boxes.

The new facility in Oak Creek has come a long way since crews first broke ground on the empty lot last year, bank employee Candy Heide said.

Heide said she and her co-workers appreciate their new surroundings, which offer substantially more space and added comforts, like a fireplace that welcomes visitors as they walk through the door.

The staff at First National, whose experience in banking amounts to a combined 75 years of experience, remains the same.

First National Bank of the Rockies can be found in Craig, Grand Junction, Hayden, Meeker and Rangely.

None of the six locations, including Oak Creek, look alike.

Certain characteristics, like the logs that frame the entrance of the Oak Creek bank, recognize the flavor of each community, said Bruce Clatterbaugh, president of the First National Bank in Meeker.

Clatterbaugh, who came for the open house, said First National tries to construct its buildings in a way that fits with bank’s location.

The building’s design reflects the town’s heritage, said Oak Creek Mayor Deb Van Gundy.

She applauded First National for expanding its offerings while honoring the spirit and size of the community.

“We get the feel of the small-town bank but we also get the modern amenities of a larger bank,” Van Gundy said.

The improved facility provides an economic asset to the town, Oak Creek Town Manager Ray Leibensperger said.

Because only one bank operates in town, it’s important that bank be viable in the community, he added.

“You either bank here or you go to Steamboat,” Leibensperger said.

Recker became the first president of First National Bank of the Rockies in Oak Creek when he returned to Colorado to assume the position.

Bill Leeson, president of First National in Hayden, previously helped out once or twice a week at the Oak Creek location.

With more than 30 years of experience in banking, Recker knows the business.

He served as president of BankNorthwest in Steamboat Springs and Summit County Bank in Frisco.

His new role landed him in a new facility that, Recker said, was something in which the town of Oak Creek could take pride.

The public responded positively to the construction of the new building, he said, and he hopes it would continue to take advantage of the bank’s added amenities.

First National offers improved personal banking services in addition to a full range of loans that cover home mortgages, installment personal loans, construction, lot, business, commercial, livestock, ranch operating

and acreage.


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