When we opened our doors on August 29, 1913, in the picturesque town of Ouray, we had one primary mission: to serve our community. Now, as we stand tall, celebrating our 110th anniversary, we’re filled with gratitude, pride, and a deeper understanding of the commitment we made over a century ago.
The word ‘community’ resonates deeply with us. Back in 1913, when the Ouray Herald captured the townsfolk’s excitement with “NEW BANK OPENS IN TEN DAYS,” it signaled more than just the inception of a bank. It was the birth of a relationship – a commitment we pledged to the hard-working people of Ouray. We declared our purpose in one of our earliest ads, emphasizing that we were “OWNED AND OFFICERED BY LOCAL PEOPLE FOR THE UPBUILDING OF THE COMMUNITY.” And we have remained true to that promise.
While to outsiders, banking may seem like a business of numbers and transactions, for us, it has always been about people, stories, and dreams. It’s the young couple we helped purchase their first home, the local entrepreneur we supported in their new venture, or the college student opening their first account. Through every handshake, every greeting, and every service, we’ve prioritized personal connections. It’s been a privilege to know our customers by name, to celebrate their successes, and to stand by them during challenges.
A stroll down memory lane brings forth several milestones. Our decision to purchase a strategic building in Ouray’s heart in 1918 wasn’t just a business expansion; it was a testament to our faith in the community’s future. When we were the only bank in Ouray for 72 cherished years, we felt an immense responsibility, and we embraced it wholeheartedly. Today, our family has grown, with branches in Ridgway, Silverton, Naturita, and Telluride, but our core values remain unchanged.
The pages of our history are filled with stories of resilience and innovation. The Great Depression tested many, but we emerged stronger, with renewed dedication. We fondly remember 18-year-old Willma Boyd Potter, who paved the way for many as our first female teller in 1945. And the legacy continues, as her granddaughter, Jessica Frigetto, today passionately oversees our Chief Lending operations. Such stories are a testament to the deep-rooted bonds we share with our employees and the community.
Our leadership journey has been nothing short of inspiring. Visionaries like “Uncle Dave” Wood and Brenda Fox have steered our course with unmatched passion and community-first ethos. In 2016, we took a pioneering step by setting up an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. This wasn’t just a corporate decision; it was our way of saying ‘thank you’ to our dedicated employees, ensuring they had a personal stake in our collective future.
While we’ve always been at the forefront of financial services, our involvement with the community extends far beyond banking. We take pride in supporting foundations such as the West End Pay It Forward Trust, Ouray County Community Foundation, San Juan County Community Foundation and the Telluride Foundation. Through these partnerships, we’ve been able to champion various community projects, uplifting many and ensuring our neighborhoods flourish.
Education, we believe, is a cornerstone of any thriving community. Over the years, we’ve conducted numerous financial literacy workshops, ensuring our young ones are well-equipped to navigate the world of finance. By investing in our youth, we’re ensuring a brighter, more informed future for all.
As we stand on this significant 110-year milestone, we’re not just celebrating our past but are also excitedly looking forward to the future. Digital banking, sustainability initiatives, and community outreach programs are just a few areas we’re actively exploring and innovating in.
To our valued customers, employees, and partners: Your trust and support have been our guiding lights. Every chapter of our journey, every milestone we’ve achieved, has been possible because of you. Here’s raising a toast to our shared memories, the challenges we’ve turned into opportunities, and the promising horizons that await.
If you’re a local nonprofit or an individual with a vision to uplift our community, we’re here, ready to join hands. As we always say, together, we are, and always will be, stronger.