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Community Banks closing its doors in La Veta

LA VETA— ­There are many challenges when living and doing business in rural communities. One such challenge is now facing La Veta residents. Community Banks of Colorado announced last week they will be closing their La Veta branch on April 29. This has been quite a blow to area residents, and many have made comments on our Facebook page when we shared a post by Malea Schmidt last week stating: “Is anyone else beyond irritated that our local bank branch is closing?” Kim White Stotts: “We, too, are very upset about the closing! The gals in the La Veta branch are absolutely priceless…..they have been so helpful over the 10 years we’ve banked with them. I hate the idea of having to drive more than 35 miles from home (we live in La Veta Pass) when we do most of our business in La Veta. We may well take our money out of Community Bank also!” Lori A. Utley: “Yes- the La Veta Branch gals were awesome. Sad to not have the convenience of a local bank.” Dani Ella Rene: “Yes my son just talked to the bank and told us that..I am so thankful they are NOT closing in Walsenburg and sorry for the people in LaVeta who depended on their jobs.” John Costea posted a lengthy letter written to Patrick Sobers, Executive Vice President of Community Banks of Colordo, with this final comment: “If you have any

questions or would like to clarify anything in the letter you sent to your valued customers, or even to just reply to this letter, I’d be more than happy to hear from you. Sincerely,Your past, present but not future valued customer, John Costea” John Sanders, Regional Manager of Community Banks of Colorado, told the World Journal they understand the responses from local residents and business owners, but they are doing everything possible to accomodate by offering several banking options. These options include a state-of-the-art online banking system, an app allowing you to deposit checks from your mobile device called Cobnks Mobile, access to ATMs, and deposits by mail. To close the La Veta branch was a business decision by the bank (much like the decision for Walmart to close their stores across the nation), not just a La Veta decision. Sanders said La Veta is one of eight locations across the state being closed down. The Walsenburg location is available for all banking needs. Sanders’ job is to find solutions, and he is doing everything possible to answer questions from the public. One big question was in regards to the ATM, he says it’s important for residents to know it will remain open. Another questioned how La Veta customers can realistically use the drive-in bank in Walsenburg, since is only open until 5 pm. He was appreciative of the question and will be taking that to his superiors to do studies on what will be the best operating business for the drive-in. They are also offering scanning options for businesses who can make their deposits that way. “Every single option will be taken into consideration,” says Sanders. “As they move towards the future, how can we help customers and still make those difficult choices?” he says in regards to making closures. There are also comments made on Malea Schmidt’s Facebook page about the possibility of other banks who might be interested in opening a branch there. I contacted a few and here are the comments: Marian Tressell, of St. Mary Credit Union: “Right now, it is not a consideration, but this is the first I have heard of it, too.” Mike McMillan, President of Century Savings & Loan Association: “We would have to do a feasibility study and see how long it would take to get profitable. We would have to see what real estate is available, what expenses are associated with that, and see if we could even get profitable. On the other hand, if it was feasible, we would have to go through approval requirements through our board and through the state. At the state level, they don’t want to see communities without financial institutions and would not stand in the way. We have many good customers in La Veta and Huerfano County – we’ve been doing business in the area since 1903.”

Bertha Trujillo

  Bertha Trujillo, 97, from Gardner, Colo., entered her eternal home on Feb. 12, 2024. She was born in Gardner, Colo., on Sept. 30, 1926,

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