A rendering shows the exterior of the building that Glenwood Springs-based Alpine Bank plans to build at the northwest corner of Folsom Street and Canyon Boulevard in Boulder. Courtesy Alpine Bank

Alpine Bank, known for mountain branches, sees Boulder fit

BOULDER — If one thing is clear about Chris Maughan, the man can really pick his gigs.

Maughan, president of the incoming Boulder branch of Alpine Bank, has been running the Telluride Branch for the past seven years, and said he expects his next banking experience to be every bit as enjoyable. The Boulder branch, which will be located on the northwest corner of Canyon Boulevard and Folsom Street, is expected to be completed in September 2018.

“Boulder is obviously a lot bigger, but it still has that close community feel, and we’re excited to be coming here,” Maughan said. “At the end of the day, whether we’re successful or not is just a reflection of the communities that we serve.”

Alpine is a locally held bank that was founded in Glenwood Springs in 1973. The bank, which surpassed the $3 billion mark in assets last year, now has 38 locations, mostly on the Western Slope, but also with recent Front Range additions in Denver’s Union Station, Cherry Creek North and the Denver Tech Center. The half-acre Boulder site is close to downtown but managed to avoid the controversy and delays of putting a branch in the Pearl Street Mall area.

“We’ve been really fortunate to work with Tebo Development,” Maughan said. “We think it’s an excellent site, and to be honest, we didn’t have much desire to be down there (on Pearl Street).”

The site includes a lot of parking for both cars and bikes, but no drive-up service. That may not be surprising to the roughly 130,000 existing Alpine customers, Maughan noted.

“We really like to engage with people face to face,” he said. “In a community bank, everyone is sort of a jack-of-all-trades.”

Alpine does have the wherewithal to compete with large centralized banks on many consumer products, and wealth management and mortgage services are expected to be mainstays of the branch. On the business side, a primary focus of the Boulder branch will be on retail and small-business banking, Maughan said.

Maughan actually refers to the branch, expected to open in about a year, as the “Boulder County” branch. He expects the locally owned brand to attract both businesses and consumers from nearby cities, especially with so many people relying primarily on online services.

“The old banking model, where you need 12 banks to support a county, is not totally relevant anymore, so I think we’re looking at Boulder County as a whole,” he said. “We can do anything big banking can do, but we focus on opportunities that are going to have a positive impact on the communities we serve.”

Beyond being locally owned, Maughan pointed out that Alpine is largely employee-owned as well.

“When we say employee-owned, we mean it,” he said. “Our employees are the largest shareholder bloc in the bank.”

One of the ideas that came from that largest shareholder bloc was the idea of environmental involvement, something that should serve a Boulder County bank very well. The employee-led “green team” led to a more formalized program and development of Alpine Bank’s Environmental Management System, a framework to measure progress, assess impacts and continually improve results.

“We’ve been very focused on moving the bank to 100 percent renewable energy,” along with reducing water use, Maughan said. New locations, including the bank in Boulder, will be LEED-certified.

The bank has several publications that help customers reduce their environmental footprint as well. However, Maughan said that community involvement does not end with environmental issues, as all bank employees are encouraged to become involved in community events and programs.

“Last year, we partnered with Colorado Children’s Hospital with our Loyalty Debit Card,” he said. “Every time you used that card, 10 cents went to Colorado Children’s Hospital.

“That’s just one example of things we’re already doing on the Front Range,” he said.

While the majority of Alpine’s branches are on the Western Slope, and many of them in resort towns, Maughan said he expects that to translate well to Boulder County.

“There’s a lot of similarity with the types of businesses that are run in resort town, and there’s just a lot of crossover with folks in Boulder County,” he said.