Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
If you talk to BancCentral Woodward Branch Manager Roger Wagner about recent upgrades and changes at his bank, he might coin the well known phrase, "the more things change, the more they stay the same".
In the last year, a new name, some remarkable changes to the lobby and new construction on a fully developed loan division may have changed the look of what used to be Central National Bank of Alva.
But underneath, a warm, personal approach to local finance and money management is still central to the business ethos here, Wagner said.
"What makes customers stay with banks are the relationships they develop and maintain," Wagner said.
To celebrate an historical commitment here and all the recent upgrades, a generous crowd gathered on the BancCentral lawn Tuesday around noon.
Customers lounged under a tent in front of the friendly little bank that sits catty-wampus on the Corner of Williams and Highway 270.
Smiley faced customers with brisket sandwiches and city officials wielding large scissors came to share some awesome vittles and a ribbon cutting with BancCentral officials.
Inside, bank employees enthusiastically led folks around the branch, showing off the new digs.
BancCentral customers might see some unique and different aspects of their bank than before, Wagner said.
A new, non traditional lobby sports a truncated customer counter that leaves an opening between customer and teller.
In this way the arrangement allows the teller to easily walk around to the customer's side of the counter and assist them if needed, Wagner said.
"We also do not use the traditional cash drawer but instead have electronic money machines the tellers use to give customers cash," Wagner said.
The arrangement creates a good record of funds for each customer counter and also adds a level of security, Wagner said.
"Each cash machine is its own little bank," Wagner said.
Perhaps most intriguing is the coin counter, complete with its own private room where bank customers and even non customers can make cash out of stashed coins.
"It's is super cool," said BancCentral customer Mikel Frederickson. "I use the heck out of it. You just take your coins in there and put them in it and then it prints you a receipt and you take it to the counter. You can deposit the money or get cash."
The change counter offers customers one banking convenience not often found anywhere else and also provides the service to non-customers as well for a small fee, Wagner said.
With its historical roots reaching clear back to 1899 when it was known as Alva National Bank, BancCentral only recently changed its name from Central National Bank of Alva, Wagner said.
As the bank grows, which is the goal, Wagner said. "It needs to have a name that allows it to fit into other communities."