BAGGS, WYO. When the Elkin family opened Summit National Bank in Baggs, Wyo., five years ago, it was providing a missing business service in the Little Snake River Valley for farmers and ranchers.
Five years later, the business is going strong.
The celebration Wednesday afternoon marked the bank's anniversary and success. Part of that presentation was the unveiling of a new drive-up window and Automated Teller Machine at a community barbecue.
"There was a demand for the (ATM) with all the oil-field business in town," vice-president Brian Elkin said. "The workers are looking to take care of their banking at 5 or 6 in the morning sometimes, or late at night."
As part of the celebration, area ranchers branded the building.
Elkin said the town of Baggs and his business have been doing well, with deposits and customer growth increasing at the business.
Brian's father and bank president, Clarence, has been in the agriculture lending business for 35 years. The family-owned banking business has a main branch in Hulett, Wyo., and banks in Ten Sleep, Wyo., and Baggs.
Brian said he enjoys serving customers in towns the size of about 500 people because he can get to know the person behind the account.
"We have found our niche by being strong in the area of agriculture," he said. "For the most part, people like to bank locally and once they get to know you, they start to come around."
Elkin said customers have come from Craig to do their banking at the Baggs business, and e-mail and fax machines have allowed ranchers to do most banking without leaving home.
Wednesday's community barbecue attracted a couple of dozen residents and ranchers, who the bank offered the opportunity of branding the bank with local ranch brands.
Charles R. Orchard wasted no time pulling his iron from the fire and applying the red-hot metal to the bank's exterior. Smoke curled from the wood meeting iron as the crowd applauded the action.
Orchard's grandfather homesteaded in the valley and claimed "the first water rights out of the river," he said.
Orchard is the type of client the Elkins would like to get into their newly remodeled building on main-street.
"Serving the Baggs community with services offered in any other bank," is the goal, Brian said.
"We appreciate Baggs and all they have done for us,"
Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext.207, or firstname.lastname@example.org