by Rick Langenberg:
In the growing high tech era, financial customers often can’t talk to an actual person on the phone, get a transaction handled face-to-face or have a question answered instantly by a manager. But at Woodland Park’s Peoples National Bank, this personal connection is what makes their business tick. After all, how many financial outlets have had the same core bankers and staff for the last four-plus years, pick up deposits for customers on a regular basis, lobby for non-profit groups and key special events, arrange ways to grow and start small businesses and host meetings. “We (the staff of Peoples) are kind of like Cheers,” quipped Vera Egbert, who has served as the branch manager for Peoples for the last four years, and previously worked at one of their branches in Colorado Springs. “It is really the personal service that makes us stand out. Once you come in here, the staff will know your name instantly. If you call or stop by (during regular hours) you will get a live person. Plus, all the managers are very accessible.”
The WP Peoples Bank is currently celebrating their third-year anniversary at their spacious and comfortable location at 651 Scott Avenue, directly off Hwy. 24 in the east section of downtown Woodland Park. The branch is always filled with cookies and various treats and almost has a living room-type atmosphere in the lobby. The bank branch began at a nearby temporary location in the winter of 2008. The WP Peoples branch sports approximately 1,000 customers and has gained much popularity through its community and friendly-based approach. “We try to bring people together and promote businesses.” said Egbert. “It’s all about being involved in the community.” Peoples actually got its start through a major community drive to assist the Help the Needy by footing the bill to relocate a building, formerly owned by Woodland Park Mayor Pro Tem and local business owner Jon DeVaux. The building, located on the eventual bank site property, was relocated to a prime spot downtown. “That was a great project for a great group,” admitted Egbert. Moreover, it helped Peoples gain a niche as a big community player. Egbert herself is quite a familiar figure in the Woodland Park community. She served as a board member for the former Woodland Retail Alliance and is heavily involved with the Woodland Park Arts Alliance. More importantly, she is a big mover and shaker in efforts to garner support for key events and heavily supports such projects as the Pavilion expansion next to the Ute Pass Cultural Center. “Woodland Park is a great place for events. We all need to help each other out,” said the branch manager. Egbert has more than 20 years of banking and financial experience. She also has worked in the hospitality industry, and served as the manager of the former Zak’s Tavern and Grill, located at the building that now houses Denny’s, for three years. ”I am definitely a people person,” related Egbert, who lives in Woodland Park. Her staff also is quite committed to the community. In addition, they sport much experience in the banking arena. Despite the challenging economy, the Peoples branch manager is quite optimistic about Woodland Park and Teller County’s future. “There really is enough business for all of us,” said Egbert, in referring to the lineup of three major banks in Woodland Park, not to mention a bevy of credit unions. “It has been a tough economy, but things are looking up. Consumer confidence seems to be picking up.” Besides Peoples’ community ties, the bank specializes in such services as a Peak Money Market, business savings, business CDs, lines of credit, a variety of loans, equipment leases, wire transfers, notary services, night deposits and mobile banking. In addition, it provides a number of services for small business, such as ways to process payments electronically, and for home owners seeking new mortgages and loan refinancing or individuals obtaining retirement advice. Special advisors are available on certain days and through scheduled appointments. “We are a full-service bank,” stressed Egbert. Besides the branch in Woodland Park, Peoples has outlets in Colorado Springs, Fountain, Gleneagle, Monument and Leadville. For more information about the Peoples National Bank branch in Woodland Park, call 686-7381 or just stop by at 651 Scott Avenue.