Larry Holcombe/Daily Globe
CHIPPEWA VALLEY Bank, along with the Hurley Area Chamber of Commerce, held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the recent opening of the bank's Hurley office. Those in attendance include, from left: Scott Jaeger, Heartland Communications; Bob Zell, Hurley Chamber board; Nichole Carter, Hurley Chamber executive assistant (with ribbon); Gary Gerber, Chippewa Valley Bank president; Pam Johnson; Jamey Francis, Hurley Chamber board; Randy Somerville, CVB board; Sue Mizell, Daily Globe; Keith Johnson, CVB-Hurley vice president; Gary Pennington, Daily Globe; Angie Hudecek, CVB-Hurley; Tom Gordon, CVB board; Heidi Chell, CVB-Superior; Kim Jaeger, CVB-Hurley (with scissors); Larry Johnson, CVB board; Jackie Kuklinski, CVB-Hurley; Dan Heffner and Sherry Stolarzyk of Wisconsin Title; Rick Forsythe, CVB board; Dorrene O'Donnell, Hurley Chamber director (with ribbon); and Tim Myers, Hurley Chamber board.
HURLEY - Chippewa Valley Bank officials are calling their new office in Hurley "lucky No. 13."
"We're really excited to be here. Small towns are what we're all about," said CVB board member Randy Somerville, who attended a ribbon cutting at the new bank office on U.S. 51 near 10th Avenue in Hurley Tuesday morning.
"We understand the challenges and difficulties that small towns encounter and the seasonality and nature of the local businesses," Somerville said.
Chippewa Valley vice president, and manager of the Hurley office, Keith Johnson said the focus is definitely on community.
"We want to be accessible to the local customer, the local business to meet their needs," Johnson said.
Somerville, a CVB board member, is based in Hayward and oversees the bank's northern offices.
CVB now has 13 offices in north central and western Wisconsin, "with Hurley being our lucky 13th," Somerville said.
Chippewa Valley has been in the banking business since 1917, starting in Winter. "Our more significant growth has been since the early '80s," Somerville said. "No. 12 was in Superior - that's our biggest market. We've expanded north to Lake Nebagamon, Iron River, Bayfield, Washburn, Ashland, Superior and now Hurley."
From building to hiring and even decorating, the focus has been local, Johnson said.
The Hurley office employs four, but he's hopeful that will increase as business warrants. The building was built with many local contractors and decorated with art from local sources, he said.
"By hiring local people that know the community, it gives us a huge advantage," said Somerville. "We know the people we're making decisions for and about. We know the local businesses, the local economy, the real estate market, that kind of thing.
"We understand businesses and individuals have ups and downs in their lives and we give them credit for what they've accomplished; and just because they've had a difficult time here and there, doesn't mean they don't have a bank," he said.
Somerville said the small, community bank has advantages.
"With some of the corporate banks, you become a credit score, or debt-to-income ratio, or a loan-to-value. You're not getting any credit for who you are and what you've done throughout your life," he said. "That's where we feel local people working for us can help us understand you personally and we think we can make better decisions both for the bank and the community.
"While the banking industry is becoming more of a numbers game, there's still a place for knowing your customers and making decisions based on that," Somerville said. "We feel our success in smaller communities and knowing the people and understanding them gives us a huge advantage over corporate banks."
Besides Johnson, the the other Hurley office employees include Jackie Kuklinski, Kim Jaeger and Angie Hudacek.
Besides Somerville, several other Chippewa Valley Bank board members were in attendance Tuesday, including CVB president Gary Gerber, board chairman Larry Johnson, of Superior, and board members Rick Forsythe, of Ashland, and Tom Gordon, of Bayfield.