By Travis Mounts
A little more space for people opening new accounts.
Six months ago, that’s all that Citizens State Bank was looking at – a space with a little more privacy for people opening new accounts and to talk about account issues. But how to create that space quickly led to plans to give the bank’s interior its first remodel since it opened its current building in 1973.
“We’ve done nothing like this to remodel the building. It’s been very functional,” vice president John Mies said about the building. Until now, the biggest project was probably replacing the drive-thru window.
But as bank officials began looking at the current needs for employees and customers, they saw an opportunity to do more – much more.
“The way we did business in the 1970s and 80s was different than today,” Mies said. While Citizens State Bank has more walk-in traffic than most similar-sized banks, it’s still much less than 30 years ago. With ATMs and online banking, how people bank has changed. So has the work that employees do.
One big change is at the teller counter. The counter itself has been moved back 3 feet. Gone are the individual desks the tellers had behind the counter. Now everything they need is located at each station.
“They can get more done efficiently,” Mies said.
There are now three teller stations instead of five, reflecting the decline of in-bank traffic. New tile and a new ceiling give the lobby a fresh feel. Some offices were remodeled. New wiring for computers and technology was added. Also added was a new space for selling tickets for events like the Bull Blowout at the Sedgwick County Fair, a space that can be used as another teller station when needed.
The restrooms, which had been the size of closets, have been expanded, and the bank now has a true public restroom. Employees have a remodeled kitchen to enjoy.
Another big change is the lighting. New LED lights have been installed throughout the building.
Operating costs will be just 30 percent of the cost to operate the old fluorescent and incandescent lights. The new LED lights will pay for themselves in just four years, Mies said. The new lights will give off 50 percent less heat, too, which will make it easier to cool the bank in the summer.
Mies said the total cost was about $150,000. That money came from the shareholders and not out of operating costs, so none of the costs will be passed along to customers, he said.
The bank kept the work local. Three Cheney contractors bid on the project, and Kampling
Construction was selected. Cheney Electric did the lighting. The architect was Michael Eidem of Kingman.
“We feel like we got a lot for our money. The costs could have been 25 to 30 percent more if the work hadn’t been done locally,” Mies said. By using local businesses, he said, the bank’s investment stays in the community. Mies said it only made sense to practice the message it preaches about supporting local businesses.
“It pays to shop local,” he said.
The work began in January and was just recently finished. The bank stayed open throughout that time, and Mies said Kampling Construction did a good job of minimizing disruptions for customers and staff.
Citizens State Bank will join other Kansas banks in celebrating Community Bank Week all of next week. The week will culminate in an open house at Citizens State Bank on Friday, April 26. The open house will run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be cookies and refreshments as well as drawings for cash and other prizes.