Keeping Pace with Edmond, Oklahoma’s Growth
The casual visitor to Edmond, Oklahoma today would be hard pressed to conjure images of what the little town on the prairie looked at the dawn of the 20th century, when Citizens State Bank first opened its doors at 102 South Broadway on April 18. The city itself was only 14 years old at the time and boasted a population of just over 1,000 souls.
According to the brief history on the banks’ Web site, “As Edmond, Oklahoma grew, so did the bank.” From the beginning, Citizen’s State Bank participated in the economic and civic rejuvenation of Edmond, Oklahoma. “By 1914, the bank had merged with Farmer’s State Bank to build our Main Branch at First and Broadway,” the Web history says.
In 1981 the bank changed its name to the Citizens Bank of Edmond. It is still locally owned and operated.
“We’ve been here since 1901,” said Ginny King, marketing manager for the bank. “We’ve been in the same family since then, the Granzow family. Randy Granzbow is our chairman of the board now.”
King said, “Our original building is on the National Register of Historic Place. It was registered in 1980 and we still use the upper level for employee offices.”
She said Citizens Bank has six locations now, with the most recent one just opened in Edmond, Oklahoma’s Coffee Creek area in mid-January of this year. “That was really successful and a lot of fun,” King said. “Several current customers come out and new people who’d been watching the building also came out. It was really nice.”
Other than one ATM in Oklahoma City’s Bricktown, King said Citizens Bank so far has chosen to simply follow the growth of the Edmond, Oklahoma community. King said that is the plan for the future, as well.
“We’re very well known in the community,” King said. “We’re very active and we really try to take care of our customers and the community. We’re very involved in any Edmond activity that’s going on. We’re a member of the Edmond Chamber of Commerce and take part in many of their events. We sponsor things in Edmond, Oklahoma schools. Really, we’re just involved in any local events that going on. Things like Arbor Day, Summer Stock productions and many others.”
King said it’s very important to everyone at Citizens Bank to maintain that small-town feel through community involvement and personal interaction.
“We have customers who come in from other, bigger banks because they know they’ll be treated well here,” King said. “Here, they talk about how they get great customer service. We’re very proud of that. We know many of our customers by name and have a real personal relationship with them.”
Citizens Bank has been able to mix small-town customer service with state-of-the-art security and all the latest electronic bells and whistles of electronic banking.
“We definitely feel like we’re above the curve on technology,” King said. “We’re always trying to bring our customers the most convenient products and services. That includes online banking and online bill pay.”
She said bank customers have embraced the modern conveniences as readily as the in-person customer service offered in the branches. “A lot of customers utilize the Web features. They find it helpful and they have access to everything 24 hours a day.”
King said Edmond, Oklahoma’s continued quick growth keeps the bank on its toes. “You can leave town for a weekend and come back and find something new,” she said.
Citizens Bank is already making plans to meet the needs of Edmond, Oklahoma’s growing population centers. A seventh branch location is on the drawing board and King said ground will be broken “fairly soon” in south Edmond, Oklahoma.
“After that, we’ll just see how business and Edmond grows,” she said of more future expansion. “We’ll see what areas are growing, where our customers are and how we can serve them.”
Opening branches to meet the demands of fast community growth also means employing more people. Ten years ago, Citizens Bank had 65 employees. In 2001 the number had grown to 79. Currently the bank provides jobs to over 100 people.
With over 100 years of history, employees of the bank could probably tell thousands of stories about interesting days at work. One of the most outstanding days in recent memory, King said, happened about seven years ago.
“A person came into the bank and we pulled up some information on him,” she said. “It said he had a criminal record and to call the police if he came into the bank. The police came in and he took off, jumping through the glass doors. The police went after him, shooting at him as he ran through downtown Edmond. He pulled a customer out of her car and took the car. He flew over the railroad tracks just before train, so the police were cut off. They did catch him later, though.”
Such events may lead bank employees to think back to the days when John Dillenger roamed Oklahoma, but they’re not the norm any more. What hasn’t changed, though, is the bank’s dedication to helping fund those who would help Edmond, Oklahoma grow and prosper.
“We do a lot of business with local Edmond businesses,” King said. “We work with construction companies and other businesses in Edmond, so we believe we’ve been influential in the city’s growth.”
Mark Lisle, Citizens Bank’s current president and CEO, agreed, saying, “It is our goal to be convenient and committed to service in attracting and maintaining meaningful customer relationships.”
King added, “That’s really our big thing, our commitment to the community.”