First Community Bank celebrates in atypical style

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Suits and ties, dresses and blouses, and wingtips and heels were replaced with flashy shirts, grass skirts and casual coolness as the stereotypical-banker image was shattered for one day last week when First Community Bank celebrated “Not Your Typical Day.”

The bank, a division of First State Bank of New Mexico, was showing off its customer appreciation and raising money for TESSA, formerly The Center for Prevention of Domestic Violence. The bank’s 520 employees in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah threw parties at all of their administrative and operations offices as well as in their 31 branches on the 18th anniversary of its acquisition by First State. Themes ranged from “Rockies baseball” to “Hawaiian Luau” to “Avalanche hockey.” At the Plaza of the Rockies branch, customers took part in games such as a bean bag toss and throwing a floating device around a decorative flamingo’s neck.

“We operate different from other banks,” said Tim Hargrove, president of the bank’s branch on South Tejon Street. “We skip the formalities and the pretenses, and we like both our employees and our customers to enjoy themselves and feel comfortable here. This celebration typifies how we like to operate.”

Hargrove, who was dressed in a bright red Hawaiian shirt and blue jeans, met with customers about business, but also shared in some fun, food and beverages.

Ray O’Sullivan, owner of Realty Development Services, was one of the folks who stopped by to spend some “downtime” with his bankers. “Where else can you go to do business with your banker dressed this casually and eat lunch in his office?” O’Sullivan asked.

Though initial plans called for an outdoor barbecue with hamburgers and hot dogs, the first rainy day of spring forced the celebration inside. The dreary weather didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, however. The bank’s lobby was decorated with a beach chair and umbrella, and tellers greeted customers with leis.

“We aren’t your typical bank with a stuffy atmosphere,” said Karen Helmns, the branch’s assistant manager. “We like to have fun & By showing our clients that we’re able to have a good time while working, our customers will feel more relaxed being here. Our customers think it’s great that our employees are so involved in making the bank a fun place to be.”

Kyle Geditz, a Colorado Springs lawyer, was glad that he had the opportunity to participate in the fund raiser, and didn’t mind the overly casual environment. “The bank always operates in a relaxed atmosphere, and I feel comfortable here without all the stuffiness one might normally associate with banks,” he said. “It was fun to take part in the celebration.”

Many branches in the First National Bank network donated stuffed animals to needy children. Locally, the stuffed animals were given to the children’s unit at Memorial Hospital.