As the oldest business in Lee’s Summit celebrates its 145th year of existence, its president believes the institution’s ages-old adage of a forthright, honest approach to doing business and dealing with customers has been the key to the Bank of Lee’s Summit’s longevity.
Wayne Forgey, president of the bank for the last eight years, said just as founders W.H. Colbern and J.N. Hargis set out to accomplish in 1868, the current brass believes an honest approach is the best approach for the business.
“I think it’s two things that keeps us going,” Forgey said Oct. 17. “No. 1, as president of the bank, we have good people. We have a great staff, we have a very supportive and strong shareholder group and probably above all we just have a great customer base that has been supportive and loyal to this bank for a long time.
“We have a lot of multi-generational customers. People whose great-grandfathers, and grandfathers and grandmothers and mothers and everybody has banked here, and banked here their whole life. We have customers who order their checks blank put on there ‘customer since 1949’ because they’re proud of it. They just love being a part of this bank.”
To celebrate its 145th anniversary, Bank of Lee’s Summit will host an open house celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at each of its four locations. In what is an annual tradition, the open house will be on a slightly larger scale for commemorative purposes, Forgey said.
“We do this every year,” he said. “We’re just adding a little this year because it’s our 145th year, but every year in October we have a customer appreciation day. It’s customer appreciation day, but really it’s for the whole community. Each location will have a grill out front and we’ll grill hot dogs, serve chips, pop, water and cookies and we’ll have a few door prizes. We’re also doing a little bit of a loan promotion for the people who come (Oct. 18). It’s an event we do every year, but we’re doing a little extra this year.”
The Bank of Lee’s Summit offers an array of financial services, including consumer, real estate and commercial loans for individuals and businesses alike.
Local business owner Jet Pabst said she and her family have personally banked at Bank of Lee’s Summit for 13 years, and for the last seven years as owner of A Thyme for Everything in downtown Lee’s Summit has also used the bank for business purposes. Pabst said it’s the people and the service that keeps her and her family as customers of the bank.
“It’s a fantastic bank,” Pabst said. “Going in there, they know you by name, they welcome you and they take care of your business so that you don’t have to worry about anything. There is never a question rather or not the integrity is going to be there. It’s just a great bank.”
Although the bank has been around for nearly a century-and-a-half, Forgey still considers the bank less style and more substance. Bank of Lee’s Summit has grown from $215 million in assets from when Forgey came aboard as president to $285 million in assets today.
“Our immediate goals are to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Forgey said. “We are a bank that believes in stability and taking care of our customers and taking care of our people. I refer to us at times – although we’ve been here a long time – I refer to us as a quiet bank.
“We don’t spend a lot of time out blowing our horn, we just go out and try to do the best we can do every single day and taking care of every single customer the best we can every single time. As I look at the strategy for this bank as we go forward we’re just going to keep doing the same thing because if we take care of our customers and we take care of our employees, the rest will take care of itself.”