‘50 Years Young,’ Alpine Bank continues legacy of community partnerships  | PostIndependent.com

‘50 Years Young,’ Alpine Bank continues legacy of community partnerships 

Glenwood Springs branch of Alpine Bank celebrating 50 years of being a community partner.
Cassandra Ballard/ Post Independent

Community involvement is not a requirement for blossoming companies, but boy does it help. 

Alpine Bank has sought to strengthen the heart of the Roaring Fork Valley since the founder, Bob Young opened the first branch in Carbondale in 1973.

“I think it’s impossible for a banker to separate out where business interests end and where society’s interests begin,” Young said in his 50th Anniversary booklet. “A good banker is one that can fully support the community in the most positive way.”

The ribbon cutting for the first opening branch in Carbondale in 1973.
Courtesy/Alpine Bank

The local bank has now extended itself much farther than its small beginnings, connecting to each of its communities and working to keep them alive and thriving.

Now, 50 years later, the bank and each of its communities are flourishing, potentially because of Young’s one main philosophy. 

“If the community wins, you can win also, which is a really important message in our world,” Debbie Wilde said, a rotarian and community advocate in Glenwood Springs.

Whether it be various employees, fellow rotarians or community fundraisers, they all stated that the main philosophy of working with Alpine Bank continues to revolve around that concept.

“If the community was strong, then it would likewise help the bank become strong,” Young’s assistant, Debbie Lundin said. “I think that was just part of the driving factor, and of course his upbringing.”

Young instilled the idea and the bank continues to live by it.

“The spirit of all that, comes down from him,” Wilde said. “It was not just money, but time.” 

There has always been a member of Alpine Bank serving on Wilde’s local rotary board, and Young was known for being a rotarian, where he met Alexandra Yajko, a local community fundraiser for first Colorado Mountain College, the Calaway Young Cancer Center and Habitat for Humanity. 

“How I feel about Alpine Bank is synonymous with what I think and feel about Bob Young, and I think Alpine Bank is Bob Young and Bob Young obviously is Alpine Bank,” Yajko said. “To me it is an interchangeable and absolutely aligned relationship.” 

This year, for its golden anniversary alone, the bank is celebrating “50 Years Young” by offering debit cards that will donate funds to the customer’s favorite local nonprofits.

Alpine bank will pay 10 cents to a nonprofit of the customer’s choice every time they use their debit card. This funding is paid by the bank and can go to education, the environment, the community, arts Colorado Mountain College, Children’s Hospital and more.   

Courtesy/ Alpine Bank
Bob Young as a candidate for the Kiss-n-Squeal fundraiser competition held by Youth Zone.
Courtesy/Alpine Bank

Wilde described the bank and Young’s approach to the community as being a community partner who could be counted on. Young has always been an approachable and available member of the community, and his employees and board members still continue that legacy. 

Garfield Youth Services, now known as YouthZone, used to have a fundraiser called the “Kiss-n-Squeal,” where candidates would compete to kiss a pig, and Young was a candidate one year.

“There’s nothing very glamorous about Kiss-n-Squeal,” Wilde said. “The idea was, whoever raises the most money gets to kiss a pig.”

Not a real pig though. 

“Lo and behold, how this could be, but the Pig got kidnapped by Mike’s campaign,” Wild said about her husband, Mike Wilde, who was the competing candidate that year.

The fun they had with the joke and publicity helped the fundraiser to raise a lot of money that year, Wilde said. Young’s sense of humor and his love of his community always helped bring the community together.

Thoughtfulness is another aspect that Young has continued to instill in his company and the way they conduct business. 

Lundin said her most fond memories of her earlier years at Alpine Bank as Young’s assistant was spending the mornings with him as he would read through the newspaper and whenever something exciting would happen, they would draft a congratulation letter.

“That just says so much about somebody who would take the time to give kudos to people in the community,” Lundin said.

She said the company still sends community kudos through email. 

Alpine Bank Chairman Bob Young was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in 2011.
Courtesy/Alpine Bank

That same thoughtfulness was shown in his drive to help benefit all members of his local community. 

“Bob called me and said, ‘I want to talk about scholarships, specifically designed for the underserved, and I see that really present at high school graduations,’” Yajko said. 

Young noticed that few Latino and Latina students were saying they would go to college, and few of the students were saying they would go to CMC.

“And he said, ‘I think we need to change that,’” Yajko said. “Bob would very passionately speak about education and the power of education and how it transforms the individual and gives them the skill set to make good decisions in life.”

That early work continues to benefit underserved students making their way into higher education to this day, as CMC has almost been a lifelong partner of Alpine Bank, having banks and campuses in almost all of the same locations and always attempting to work together. 

To this day, the relationships and community that Young built when he was just starting out still hold strong.

Many nonprofits in the region offer Alpine Bank first rights of refusal, and always know they can count on some kind of help if it is seriously needed, both Yajko and Wilde said. 

“Alpine Bank really believes in investing in the well being of the community and showing up,” Yajko said. “The work of education and service in the community is at the core of their mission. And so to me, you couldn’t ask for a better partner. They really set the stage for success in every single community where they have a presence.”

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