Posted 8/04/15 (Tue)
By Cecile Krimm
It may take a little getting used to, but heading to The Bank of Tioga no longer means leaving Crosby.
Closing time last Friday officially brought to an end the operation of Farmers State Bank -- an institution in the community for four generations of the Hanisch family.
This Friday, local employees, partners from the Tioga bank and the Iowa-based group that purchased banks in Crosby and Tioga will celebrate the official change with an open house at the new Crosby branch.
While patrons of the bank have been receiving information about the changes ever since TS Bank’s purchase of the Crosby location in January, what’s driving the outward change now is the switchover to The Bank of Tioga’s computer system.
That process took place last weekend.
“Everything is just going to transition into the new bank,” said Debbie Axtman, branch manager.
Anticipating the change Wednesday last week Axtman declared, “It should be an interesting weekend!”
When the bank re-opened Monday, it was on a system entirely new to Crosby -- one connected to The Bank of Tioga.
“For awhile, we have been answering the phone ‘The Bank of Tioga’ formerly Farmers State bank,’” and while it may be a jolt to hear that, Axtman said the overriding positive is the continued operation of the bank.
“Most people were just very thankful its going to remain a bank,” rather than have the building converted to some other use.
Axtman herself didn’t expect to be in the position of manager of a branch of an out-of-town bank. Instead, she planned to leave her 32-year association with the bank behind when the Hanisch family sold out.
Meeting the bank’s new owners changed her mind.
“They are very interested in community reinvestment and they’re just really good down-to- earth people,” Axtman said and that’s why she decided to accept their offer to stay on board at the bank.
The reality, said Axtman, is that all three banks in Crosby are now headquartered elsewhere -- First National Bank, in Williston, and BNC National Bank, in Bismarck. Nationwide, she said, it’s getting harder for independent banks to comply with federal regulations. Association with the new group will allow branches to focus on customer service, not paperwork.
Axtman feels Crosby is fortunate in its association with the TS Bank group, headquartered in Treynor, Iowa.
“Treynor, Iowa is actually a smaller town than Crosby, so it’s someone you can relate to,” she said.
Many new services will now be available to customers.
Just one Axtman mentioned is “Mobile Deposit Capture” which involves out of town businesses scanning their checks on equipment provided by the bank, and sending that deposit by computer.
“Someone from Fortuna or someone from Lignite doesn’t have to make a trip to town to make a deposit,” Axtman said.
People in Crosby will also be able to obtain a debit card as soon as an account is opened, with just a day or two turnaround time.
Andrea Hanisch remains on staff as a personal banker and customer service rep. Ryan Hanisch is working in the area with both the Crosby and Tioga banks on Information Technology aspects.
Christy Baker is the Chief Operations Officer, from Treynor.
“She’s the person in charge of this whole conversion,” said Axtman.
Kerri Powell is the Operations Specialist and Melinda Alexander is a customer service rep.
In addition, two Divide County High School grads have recently joined the bank.
Savannah (Wissbrod) Hendrickson will split her time between Crosby and Tioga as a credit analyst. Lee Rindel will begin working at the Crosby branch full time in a few weeks, as an ag lender.
These are opportunities, Axtman said, that may not otherwise have arisen to allow local folks to live and work in their home area.
For customers, “They may not know these two individuals, but they know their families,” Axtman said, which should be reassuring.
Axtman said a position filled by Haley Lund this summer likely will require hiring another person once Lund heads to college in a few weeks.
Axtman invites the public to attend the open house.
“We’re hoping people will come in and meet some of our people from Tioga as well as from Treynor, Iowa,” Axtman said.
A ribbon cutting will be held at 10 a.m. with members of the Crosby Area Chamber, followed by cake and coffee until noon.