The State Bank of Bement expanded east with the opening of a branch in Ivesdale five years ago, and since 2002 its holding company has owned the State Bank of Cerro Gordo to the west.
Now the financial institution has announced plans to expand north with a 4,000-square-foot banking center to be constructed at 1927 N. Market St. in Monticello, which formerly housed Hicks Gas.
An official ground-breaking ceremony was held Aug. 30, with bank officials saying the facility – to be called SBB Monticello – will be operational sometime next spring.
"I’m pleased they are building in this particular site," said Monticello Mayor Larry Stoner. "I think it’s wonderful we’re going to have something at the gateway to the community that represents the community well." The location will help greet travelers who exit from Interstate 72 onto Monticello’s Market Street.
It will also add five full-time employees to the local economy, along with several part-timers, according to State Bank of Bement Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michelle Gross.
"We have been fortunate with excellent customer relations throughout the years, starting in Bement, adding the Ivesdale branch in 2011, and now we look forward to serving the community of Monticello," said Gross, who said the bank will immediately strive to become a part of the town not only through banking services, but with open houses, community cookouts and Christmastime events.
"We look forward to seeing you in the stores, biking on the bike path, running at Allerton, or shopping and dining in your community. We look forward to supporting your community as we have had the great privilege of supporting others in the past," said Gross.
The process to find an appropriate landing spot was a deliberate one, according to City of Monticello Community Development Director Callie McFarland. She said SBB officials first approached her with the idea of a Monticello branch three years ago.
"If there’s anything I’ve learned in my job, it’s patience. Three years is a long time to get things going, so I’m especially pleased to see this job come to fruition," said McFarland on the three-acre site. "Finding the perfect site was tough. They looked at a lot of sites. They are big planners. They wanted to position themselves for the future. They definitely did their homework."
She added the Hicks Gas facility was used only for above-ground propane storage, minimizing the need for extensive cleanup as the project moves forward.
The Farnsworth Group in Bloomington designed the facility, and Harold O’Shea Builders in Springfield has been hired as contractors. Plans also call for a three-lane drive-through facility, along with a drive-through ATM and night depository.
Gross said O’Shea also built the bank’s drive through building at the Bement facillity.
"State Bank of Bement is excited to have a physical presence in the community of Monticello," she said.
More than 100
years in Bement
State Bank of Bement celebrated its centennial in 2014. It was chartered on Jan. 9, 2014 and originally located at 105 E. Bodman St. in a building that is no longer standing, moved to 201 E. Bodman to the former offices of the National Bank of Bement in 1930, then to its current location at 180 E. Bodman St. in 1970.
The bank’s holding company, Bement Bankshares, Inc., has also owned the State Bank of Cerro Gordo since 2002.
State Bank of Bement has had just eight presidents in 102 years, including the current one, Kenneth Wright.