TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Thu, April 02

First State Bank opens in former Stockmen's building
Celebrates 'Teach Your Children to Save' Day

The new lobby of First State Bank does not have teller windows or tellers. Instead, the bank uses teller pods where financial service representatives greet customers.  VVN/Philip Wright

The new lobby of First State Bank does not have teller windows or tellers. Instead, the bank uses teller pods where financial service representatives greet customers. VVN/Philip Wright

Cottonwood's newest bank, First State Bank, moved from its temporary branch on Cove Parkway into the old Stockmen's Bank building in mid March. The old building, located at 704 S. Main St., was renovated and expanded by 1,000 square feet.

Tuesday the employees were hosts to about 60 first graders from Tavasci Elementary School. The event was National Teach Your Children to Save Day. The kids toured the bank, watched coins being counted, held a $1,000 brick of $1 bills and learned about coins and about saving their money.

Lori Simmons, vice president and commercial loan officer, said that teaching children about saving is more than a one-day event for First State Bank. The bank receives grade-appropriate lessons prepared by a bankers association.

"We will go teach a curriculum in the classroom," Simmons said. The bank offers that service because not all schools can transport students to the bank. "We especially want to talk to high school students."

Simmons said they teach students to compare how long it would take to save money to buy an item they really want rather than simply put it on a credit card. Those students learn that the savings really add up when they buy something outright instead of paying credit card interest.

Simmons said the bank's employees look well beyond a single day when it comes to teaching children to save money. "Our goal is to educate one thousand children before school is out," she said.

First State now has six bank branches in Arizona, four in Flagstaff and one each in Cottonwood and Payson.

Blake Rolley, the bank's president, founded the bank more than nine years ago. Rolley and First State Bank bring a new style of banking to Cottonwood, an open environment.

"There's no lines when you walk in the door," Simmons said. She pointed out that the bank has no teller lines because the bank does not use tellers or customer service representatives. Instead, there are teller pods where a financial service representative greets a customer.

Business is conducted in private, small offices rather than at a teller window where other customers can hear what's being discussed. "There's never a hand-off to another person," Simmons said. "We move around instead of the customer moving around."

A children's center is provided to help keep the kids entertained while the parents do their banking, although Simmons said the kids are always welcome to stay right with the parents.

Coffee, the bank's own unique blend, is always hot and free. Customers or prospective customers are welcome to a free cup of gourmet coffee simply by stopping by the lobby. In fact, a 5-minute parking space is posted and reserved for customers to run in and get a cup of coffee.

"People are absolutely loving the coffee," Simmons said.

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