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High Plains Bank to close west Longmont branch that opened in 2021

LONGMONT — High Plains Bank, which opened a retail branch in west Longmont in 2021 and bought a downtown building for office uses in December last year, will close the west Longmont branch in April.

The Flagler-based High Plains gave notice to employees last week and sent notices to customers this week informing them of the branch-office change.

John Creighton, CEO of the bank, told BizWest today that the branch at 2318 17th Ave. was always considered to be a temporary solution to office issues.

“In 2019, we identified a need for more office space. We couldn’t find any, and we decided to build,” he said. Because the bank intended to build office space on land it bought on 17th Avenue, it decided to open a retail branch in leased space in the same area and eventually move the retail branch to newly constructed office space across the parking lot.

Construction costs doubled since 2019, he said. “It no longer made sense [to build,]” Creighton said.

Last year, High Plains acquired 385 Main St., a 5,800-square-foot office building, for $2.07 million. “That facility more than serves our office space needs,” he said. The bank will put its trust, estate and investment services, along with its lending team, at 385 Main.

When the bank opened the 17th Avenue branch, it touted the geographic location as helping customers in western Longmont access services.

“The new location allows us to better serve the west side of Longmont and is a convenient option for our customers in the nearby communities of Hygiene and Lyons. I’m personally excited as I’ve lived on the west side of Longmont for over 20 years,” said Chris McVay, then Longmont market president. He’s now chief development officer for the bank.

Changing conditions in the banking industry have caused the bank to rethink that approach to reaching customers.

“People can still do their banking downtown,” Creighton said. The bank’s main branch location at 600 Kimbark St. will be central to retail banking, and the 385 Main location will be open for other services, including lending.

“People are increasingly using online tools for banking,” Creighton said. “We’re also able to go to our customers. Lenders are meeting customers where they are, and so are new-account people,” he said. Creighton said small-business owners, specifically, like to be able to meet with bankers during off-business hours because they’re busy during normal business hours.

About 85% of the High Plains’ customer base is commercial in nature, he said.

The bank’s communication with customers listed an April 28 date for closure of the 17th Avenue branch. Creighton said the bank will continue to use the facility until 385 Main is ready for occupancy; its lease will be over by then.

Source: BizWest