New name, same faces at local bank |

New name, same faces at local bank

Ruth Longoria
Special to the Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” If you’ve driven down South Grand Avenue in the past week, chances are you’ve already seen the signs of change.

Newly installed American National Bank logo and signs will be lit Tuesday at former Mesa National Bank branches in Glenwood Springs, Rifle and across western Colorado.

Mesa National Bank is one of four Colorado and Wyoming banking institutions ” with a total of 32 branches ” that will merge Tuesday to form American National Bank.

But the consolidation is not a merger, said Scott Sobke, Glenwood Springs branch president.

“Don’t worry that some big bank has come in and swooped up the bank,” Sobke said.

In addition to Mesa National Bank’s Colorado branches, the consolidation involves The Bank of Cherry Creek in Denver, Western National Bank in Colorado Springs and American National Bank in Wyoming, all of which are owned by the Sturm Financial Group.

The Denver-based firm is owned, and was founded, by Donald Sturm, who has interests in various sectors including telecommunications, technology, airlines and real estate, according to the bank’s Internet Web site.

Bank officials selected the American National Bank name for the union because it is the name most relevant for all the banks involved, and it is the name of the oldest bank owned by Sturm, Sobke said.

Sturm formed Mesa National Bank in 1990 by combining two of Mesa County’s oldest financial institutions, Mesa Federal Savings and Loan and Valley Federal Savings and Loan.

Tuesday’s consolidation will mean few changes locally.

“The only things people are going to notice is that the signs are changed and now they can bank all over,” Sobke said.

There will be no changes in hours of operation, branch services or staffing, including the 15 longtime employees at the Glenwood Springs branch, he said.

And, customers will not need to change their checkbooks until they run out of checks since account numbers will remain the same, Sobke said.

However, beginning Tuesday, customers can use any of the bank’s 58 ATM machines or cash a check and access funds at any branch within the two states without the additional fees previously assessed, said Bill Sisson, president of Mesa National Bank and executive vice president of Sturm Financial Group.

As part of the consolidation, Mesa National Bank’s more than $320 million in assets will become part of American National Bank’s combined assets of more than $1.3 billion.

The consolidation means greater lending power for the bank, Sisson said.

Previously, due to legal lending limits involving bank assets, any loan over $4.5 million had to be spread out to more than one bank. The consolidation will increase the bank’s lending limits to $15 million, he said.

“This strengthens the bank and consolidates all of our capital into one pot,” Sisson said. “This brings all of our assets together under one roof.”

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