to become a powerhouse in the industry, thanks to their unwavering commitment to excellence.
The founder of Alpine Bank, Bob Young, is seen second from left in a photo at the opening of the bank’s first location in Carbondale, together with Ernest Gianinetti, Lawrence Kelly, and Wallace de Beque. As Alpine Bank expanded across towns in Western Slope, Young made it a priority for the bank to be rooted in the community.
Alpine Bank opened its doors in the early 70s, and Rod Slifer was among the first people to join the bank's board, simply because he was among the first people in Vail at the time. Slifer did not know much about banking, but he recognized the potential of having a local bank in town. Before Alpine Bank, locals in Vail relied on Denver-based banks for their financial transactions.
The Carbondale ribbon-cutting ceremony of the first Alpine Bank was not only significant because it marked the inception of the institution; the 50 silver dollars attached to the ribbon were also donated to the town's parks.
Alpine Bank has retained its employees and customers for many years. For example, Michael Brown, a regional vice president who has now served the bank for over 30 years, started off as a teller. Similarly, Grant Murphy, the branch manager at the bank's Eagle location, has been with Alpine for 25 years. The work culture at Alpine Bank is cited as one of the primary reasons why employees stay with the company. Today, the bank has expanded its presence across Colorado, including in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins.
According to Murphy, the crucial factor in workplace satisfaction is the people you work with, trumping any set rules or guidelines a company may impose. In the realm of banking, technology's overwhelming impact has transformed the industry, but retaining the human connection remains fundamental to Alpine's ethos.
“Banking first and foremost is a people business,” said Murphy, “it's about the interaction between the bank and customer.” This tenant is the bedrock of Alpine's banking philosophy and the reason why their doors remained open throughout the pandemic.
Brown noted that despite the pandemic, only 2% of their staff worked remotely, resulting in strengthened bonds and loyalty among employees. This loyalty is a vital ingredient in their approach to steady and long-term growth. Privately owned, Alpine has steered clear of corporate structures and indices, where short-term goals tend to trump the long-term wellbeing of customers and employees.
As the largest shareholder, Alpine's employees represent the community, and community loyalty runs deep through the bank's culture. For every transaction made with an Alpine debit card, the bank donates 10 cents to various causes, with the aim of donating $2.5 million this year alone.
The bank has also extended its support to federal employees throughout government shutdowns, offering no-interest loans to those affected. Though this move boosted their reputation and customer base, their loyal community also appreciated their efforts.
Alpine's dedication to the community is one reason why the bank expanded into new territories like Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, despite stiff competition from larger banks and online institutions. Yet, Alpine's unique selling point lies in its devotion to individual attention, catering to the needs of local customers and building relationships on trust.
Overall, Alpine combines cutting-edge technology with old-fashioned human interaction; therefore, customers still feel valued, heard, and appreciated in their banking relationships.
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