PPNB hits 50
Commercial Club brought bank back to Old Town in ‘57
Pikes Peak National Bank, 2401 W. Colorado Ave., will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a private event Sunday, July 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Bancroft Park.
The bank has invited local leaders and long-time customers and plans to honor 15 people who have had accounts with Pikes Peak since it began in 1957. A band, Randy Rodriguez and the Stardust Orchestra, will play.
Originally known as the Pikes Peak Bank of Commerce, the business was located where Garman's is now (2418 W. Colorado Ave.) and was the first bank in Old Colorado City in 25 years.
The bank moved to its current address (then a new buil-ding) in 1965. At the same time, the bank's directors changed the name to what it is now.
Over the years, PPNB has grown to become one of the major financial institutions in the region, with branches in east Colorado Springs and in Fountain. There are more than 40 employees in all, 30 of them in Old Colorado City.
“We must be doing something right,” said CEO John Georgeson. “Or we wouldn't have been here 50 years.” He described the operation as “just a neighborhood bank. You make deposits here so we can loan the money to your neighbors.”
Customers tend to be loyal. During staff research to find original accounts, “I was amazed at the number of people who have been with us 20 to 35 years,” he said. “It says a lot about the Westside. People stay here a long time.”
The Georgesons have a continuity of their own. Georgeson's father, Earl, has been the chairman of the board for Pikes Peak National since 1976. He helped guide the bank to an increase in assets from $14 million in '76 to more than $80 million now. John has been CEO since 2001.
The 50-year customers will be honored with plaques, according to Tracy Ritter, the bank employee who has been helping plan the half-century celebration. Through July, the bank will have other customer-recognition activities, including on different days hot dogs, cookies, face-painting and balloons, she said.
According to press clippings from 1957, the then-new bank was sponsored by the West Side Commercial Club, which promoted area business. The original bank directors (all deceased now) were C. Harry Blunt, W.L. Schafroth, W.L. Liggett, H.O. Robertson, J. Waldo Dyck, William C. Henderson, Emil Clark, William Inglies and William Osborne. Blunt and Henderson also served as Colorado Springs mayors.
Historical sources indicate that the Pikes Peak Bank of Commerce was the third bank at the 2418 site. The first was the First National Bank of Colorado City, which opened in 1906 and kept that name until Colorado City was annexed to Colorado Springs in 1917. Because of a name conflict with the First National Bank of Colorado Springs, the Colorado City operation changed its name to City National Bank, staying in business until it merged with Colorado Springs National Bank in 1932.
The original vault from First National Bank of Colorado City - also used by the Bank of Commerce - is still intact inside the Garman's building (out of view of the public).
Pikes Peak National plans no major changes in the immediate future, although the directors are considering one or two possible branch additions, according to John Georgeson. In the meantime, he pledged that the bank will continue providing a high level of service to its customers. And “Hopefully,” he smiled, “we'll be here another 50 years.”
Westside Pioneer article