Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
FAIRFIELD — Iowa State Bank in Fairfield underwent a major remodeling project this past year.
The bank has two offices in town, one on North Court Street in the downtown and a newer office built in 1995 at the corner of West Burlington Avenue and Fourth Street. Bank management decided it was time to move the bulk of its staff to the new building, which had drive-up service, while the downtown building did not.
To make room for the employees moving into the new building, the bank had to remodel its space. The new bank was gutted down to the concrete. Work began in October 2020 and finished in May 2021. Today, all the bank’s loan officers and personal bankers are on the main floor, whereas before the loan officers were upstairs. The second floor is now used by administrative staff.
Renovations included redoing the lobby with a nice fire place. Alissa Ward, vice president of human resources and marketing, said the remodeled space is “nice and cozy, warm and inviting.”
The bank still is operating its downtown location, in a building built sometime in the 1950s or 1960s. David Eastburn, the chairman of the bank’s board, works there along with a few others, but the bank no longer employs tellers there. It does maintain an ATM in the entryway. Nearly all of the bank’s 30 employees have moved to the new location.
The bank will extend its lobby hours on Aug. 1 so that it will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. instead of closing at 4 p.m. as before. Lobby hours on Saturday will remain 9 a.m. to noon.
In addition to remodeling its main branch, Iowa State Bank has been busy doing community outreach and donating to local charitable causes. In fact, the bank’s contributions attracted the attention of the Community Bankers of Iowa, which named the bank winner of its “Best-of-the-Best” competition that honors banks that give back to their communities.
Iowa State Bank has donated to numerous charities. The bank committed to donating $12,000 per year for the next five years to Jefferson County Kids Child Care Center, a new child care center planned for the south side of Fairfield. The bank has also donated to the African Violet Foundation, The Lord’s Cupboard, Carry On Bags, Relay for Life and played Wii bowling with residents of SunnyBrook Assisted Living. The bank is an annual sponsor and donor toward Fairfield Band Aids, supporting Fairfield’s music department, and the Southeast Iowa Showdown, supporting ag families.
The bank established the Iowa State Bank Scholarship Fund for Maharishi School, with an initial gift of $5,000 in 2020 and regular annual contributions. The bank donated $1,000 toward Fairfield High School’s esports team.
Ward said the bank has, over the years, contributed a considerable sum of money to facilities such as the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center and the Cambridge SportsPlex, the city’s rec center.
“Basically every month we do different donations to things in the community,” Ward said.
Ward said the bank is proud of its efforts this past year helping more than 400 local businesses receive forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. The program allowed businesses to continue paying their employees and stay afloat during the tough economic time brought on by the pandemic.
“A lot of people didn’t know about it, so our loan officers reached out to our customers to make sure they were aware of the program and helped facilitate that process,” Ward said.
The bank is proud of its employees, who are being recognized for their contributions and expertise. Bank president and CEO Aaron Kness will become president of the Iowa Bankers Association in September.
Karl Metcalf, the bank’s vice president of lending, was recognized as a Paycheck Protection Program Champion on the “40 Under 40: Emerging Community Bank Leaders” list by Independent Banker magazine. Ward mentioned that customer service manager Dena Morrissey recently graduated from the Iowa School of Banking.