Volkman named president twice in 2006
March 15, 2006
Andrew Volkman admits he often finds himself unable to go to the grocery store without someone stopping to speak to him about the last Park City Chamber/Bureau conference or Park City Planning Commission meeting. It’s a hassle he welcomes, it seems he "likes to see what’s coming down the pipes," he says — and this year, he will surrender perhaps the very last of his anonymity.
Earlier this month, Frontier Bank named Andrew Volkman, its new president, and in July, he will take the place of Deer Valley Resort President Bob Wheaton as president of the Park City Chamber/Bureau.
The appointment to head the Chamber/Bureau’s board will come a month after he his sixth year as a Park City Planning Commissioner, expires.
"When you live in a community like this, it’s important and, in fact, I think you have an obligation to get involved," he says, and nearly everyone at Frontier Bank takes their concept of "community bank" to heart, he adds, volunteering in one way or another.
Frontier Bank founder and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Montgomery estimates as many as 90 percent of his employees donate their time to the community. When he lived in Park City, Montgomery volunteered as a disc jockey for KPCW, and served on several boards including the People’s Health Clinic and Habitat for Humanity.
Volkman not only understands the technical side of banking, but "walks the walk" when it comes to the "community" half, he says. Volkman has served as president of the Park City Recycling Association, and Chairman of the Park City Arts Festival. He has also worked for half a dozen banks over the last two decades, and served 10 years as regional manager of Silver King/Bank One in Park City.
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Since Montgomery moved to California to open up two branches of El Paseo Bank five years ago, Volkman has served as the bank’s Senior Vice President of Retail Banking. Montgomery credits the new president with increasing the company’s assets by nearly $50 million to a total of $100 million since that time.
"We’re lucky to have Andrew," Montgomery concludes. "I think this [promotion to president] has been in the back of all of our minds."
Volkman will succeed F. Marc Estabrook, who served as president since the bank’s inception in 1998. Estabrook was previously promoted to serve as chief financial officer in the bank’s newly formed holding company, Western Community Bancshares.
The bank filled a void Montgomery perceived in Park City. For the entire decade prior to Frontier Bank’s opening, the town had no locally owned, locally run bank, he recalls.
Instead of centralizing the authority within the bank, Montgomery says he distributes it.
"How often do we feel we’re dealing with an organization where we never come in direct contact with decision makers?" he asks.
Montgomery remembers one of the first loan applications at Frontier. A customer had given up at another bank after his loan application sifted through the system for some time. At Frontier, they were able to grant him a loan by the next day, Montgomery says.
"It’s a small-bank mentality versus big-bank mentality," agrees Volkman.
"I’ve worked for six banks in 25 years you see thousands of transactions everyday there’s bound to be an occasional mistake I think at Frontier you find people that care and take ownership. When there’s an issue or a mistake has been made, the person you talk to will resolve it," he explained.
In addition to two banks in California’s Palm Desert, Frontier has opened a second Utah location in Sandy. Montgomery says within the next few years, the bank’s operations will double in size. As the company grows to include more banks along the Wasatch Front, Montgomery and Volkman plan to maintain the company’s steady success by continuing to hire locally.
"People who run the bank live in Park City and understand the seasonality and economic cycles of the town. It’s perfectly normal to have deposits fluctuate 20 to 30 percent from season to season," Volkman explains. "We understand that because we’ve lived here and worked here for many years. Local management and ownership has helped a lot."
While Frontier does not serve many tourists, it does see the impact of tourism indirectly from the trickle down into businesses. Two-thirds of the bank’s deposit-base comes from commercial accounts. The rest is comprised of second homeowners and local residents.
Frontier will likely see many more customers within the next few years, however as it proceeds to build a new office next to its current location on Deer Valley Drive. The property was purchased from the city, with the ink still wet on the sale of the contract just last week. The bank has had its eye on the property since it opened, but the city didn’t want to part with it, since it had plans to house a transit center there as part of a Public Works project, according to Volkman.
Frontier is still in the planning stages of a three-story 13,000 square-foot building. The bank is headed in the direction of a lodge atmosphere that Montgomery describes as a cross between Starbucks and a bank, complete with premium coffee, freshly baked cookies, plasma television and Internet access. Operations will expand to include more loan officers and mortgage services.
Using his ‘planner speak,’ Volkman notes the new building will finally give the bank the much needed "ingress" and "egress" to be more accessible to its customers.
Born and raised in Utah, and a graduate of Westminster College with a degree in management, Volkman went to the University of Delaware’s Stonier Graduate School of Banking, but couldn’t see himself settling on the East Coast. He moved to Park City in 1990, and has continued to be a part of the town ever since.
"Park City suits my personality," he says.