Blue Grass Savings Bank has taken its first step outside of the Blue Grass city limits by opening a full-service branch on West Locust Street in Davenport.
It is the first branch the full-service bank has had since it opened for business in 1901, and is designed to serve the bank’s Davenport customers.
Bank President and CEO Wayne Beck said that Blue Grass Savings Bank purchased the building at 2722 W. Locust St. that once was home to First Midwest Bank.
Beck said the company chose to open a branch in west Davenport because “that’s where our current customers are. West Davenport also is underbanked.
“A lot of our customers who live in west Davenport and drove out to Blue Grass to do their banking,” he said. “We’re bringing the bank closer to them.”
That bank has seen steady yet prudent growth during Beck’s tenure. He became the company’s eighth president and CEO of the bank in 2010.
“When I came to the bank it was a pretty good size but we were lacking for loans,” Beck said. “I hired another seasoned lender, Jim LeGare (vice president and senior loan officer). He came in March of 2011. When we started growing the loan portfolio we were 40 percent loaned up. We’ve got up to 60 percent now so we’ve done well there.”
The banks loans went from $42 million when Beck came on board, to $96 million this year. Of those loans, more than $27 million are to people and businesses with a Davenport address. Those demographics also account for more than $33 million in deposits.
“I’ve hired three other loan officers,” Beck said.
Beck said that the bank’s majority owners, Elton and Marilyn Farley, have cultivated deposits from Davenport’s west side for years and years.
“We’ve done very well with the west side of Davenport,” he said. “Locating a branch on the west side was an easy choice for us. That’s where our current customers are and we hope to continue to grow.”
The building was purchased June 1 and opened for business as Blue Grass Savings Bank on June 19.
The building and site was just about perfect, Beck said.
“It already had a drive-up window,” he said. “We did some initial improvements and put our own ATM machine in there.”
But there is more work to be done. The bank is putting in a new 1,200 square-foot addition on the west side of the building that will include better parking for cars and a front door into which customers can walk. Currently the main entrance is on the north side of the building.
Beck said the goal is to make it more convenient and safer for bank customers.
The construction should be completed in November, and the bank will remain open during the remodeling.
“Customer service is what we sell and our employees are what make this bank,” Beck said. “They provide the friendly customer service that makes people enjoy coming into the bank, especially here in Blue Grass.”
Experienced bankers and tellers from the main bank in Blue Grass have been moved to the new branch to ensure customers get the same level of service they expect, Beck added.