Investors to launch new bank

A group of investors with strong local ties to Moffat County think it is time the county has a local bank.

And they plan to make that happen.

The loan production office of what has been tentatively named "Moffat County National Bank" will open in December with full-scale banking operations set to be provided in an as yet unknown location in the first quarter of 2005.

The loan production office will be at 12 W. Victory Way until the bank's original board members decide on a location for the new business.

Investing in the venture and making up the current board are Napa Auto Parts owner John Ponikvar, Mayor Dave DeRose, attorney Kevin Peck, attorney Tom Thornberry, Cook Chevrolet owner Scott Cook, Moffat County Commissioner Darryl Steele and Dean Brosious. The group hopes to round out the board at 10 members and expects three more investors to join within the week.

Other potential investors still are being sought.

"We think there's a need for a bank where the decisions are made locally by people in touch with the community they serve," Brosious said. "These are local business people with their ears to the ground seeing what works for the community and what benefits the community."

Brosious said banking decisions made in corporate offices don't always reflect the character and commitment of the borrower.

The group has been working to make the idea a reality for about four months and has a site-selection subcommittee evaluating possible locations where they can purchase an existing building or construct a new one.

Brosious said the bank will be a full-service community bank in which deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

"One of the things we continue to hear is we don't really have a community bank anymore, so we definitely see a need," he said.

Dave Fleming, president of First National Bank of the Rockies, has resigned his position, effective Nov. 26, to serve as president of the proposed Moffat County National Bank.

Fleming has 20 years of financial experience, with nearly 10 of it at First National Bank of the Rockies.

Investor John Ponikvar said a locally owned and operated bank is an idea whose time has come.

"We hope to provide better community service than what's been provided," he said. "There's not a lot of loyalty to existing banks, you never know who owns it. Hopefully, we can provide some stability for the next 50 or 100 years."

Ponikvar said the board has looked at the number of dollars on deposit with local banks and thinks room exists for another.

"It's really exciting for me," he said.

"I think it's an opportunity of a lifetime and a great opportunity for the community."

The group is still awaiting confirmation that the name Moffat County National Bank is available.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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