State Bank of Delano celebrates 100th year

January 14, 2008

By Jen Bakken
Staff Writer

Through economic changes, world wars, floods, and difficult times, the State Bank of Delano has served local residents and businesses throughout the community for 100 years.

Although the building the bank is located in has changed several times, its motto, “Friends serving neighbors,” remains the same.

It is with this in mind that the State Bank of Delano began planning many events to celebrate its 100th year.

From 1908 to 2002, the bank served the community from different addresses in downtown Delano, before moving to its current home at 1300 Babcock Boulevard.

Though moving from the downtown area was a big decision, it was a necessary move. Because of the area’s growth, the bank needed to expand, and be in a location convenient to customers.

In the current building, a large arched window over the entrance is modeled after the second bank building on Bridge Avenue that it moved into in 1909. Its logo was also changed to reflect the arch of the historic windows.

The State Bank of Delano has been in the Gilmer family for four generations.

In 1940, Bert Gilmer was elected president; and in 1954, his son, Don Gilmer, was elected to the board.

After selling the Granite Works building in 1967, Don Gilmer purchased the bank, and it is still in the family today.

“I think,” reflected Wendy Gilmer. “my grandfather purchased the bank because he saw the strength and vitality of this community.”

Steve Gilmer followed in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps by joining the bank 35 years ago.

Steve graduated from St. Olaf and received his master of business administration degree (MBA) from the University of Michigan. He was a finance officer in the Army, and worked for Chrysler Corporation in Detroit before coming to the State Bank of Delano in 1973.

When Steve first joined the bank, there were eight employees, including himself. Four of those other employees remain with the bank today – Carol Traen, Sandy Adickes, Sharon Fritz, and Cherie VanErp. Today, the bank employs nearly 40 people.

Wendy is the fourth generation of the Gilmer family to join the bank. She attended St. Olaf College, like her father, and received her MBA from London Business School.

She worked for a large German bank in lending and credit analysis, then worked for American Express, doing marketing for financial services. She joined the bank in 2005 as vice president.

“I knew I wanted to travel and experience things,” she said. “But, I also knew someday I wanted to be here at the bank. Watching my dad and my grandfather instilled in me the value of community, contributing, and looking out for one another.”

Locally owned, the State Bank of Delano is a full service, independent community bank.

Its dedication to Delano is proven by its community service on the Fourth of July Committee, Dollars for Scholars, Delano Area Chamber of Commerce, Delano-Loretto United Way, Delano Lions, Delano Jaycees, General Federated Women’s Club, Knights of Columbus, area church committees, and many more organizations.

“We are a community bank,” Steve Gilmer said. “I would like to see people use their local banks, whether it is our bank or another community bank, because they are the ones who support the community, make local donations, pay local taxes, and become part of local service organizations.”

While their 100-year celebration is a time to celebrate and thank their customers, it is also a time to encourage the community to see what the State Bank of Delano has available.

“We are a smaller bank,” Wendy Gilmer said. “We can be more flexible in terms of products, and we strive to be innovative, responsive, and make banking convenient.”

With online banking, remote deposit for buisinesses, and enhanced online commercial banking, its dedicated staff offers a high level of banking, financial experience, and education.

In appreciation of its customers and the community, the State Bank of Delano will be hosting a variety of events.

There will be a movie day at the Delano Theater beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19.

In exchange for a food shelf item, the bank will provide the movie ticket, along with free pop and popcorn.

A dance will be hosted at St. Joseph’s Church gym in Delano, with Butch Automatic Saturday, April 12.

A week of appreciation events is planned July 14 through 18, with activities taking place each day.

There will be activities for children, businesses, customers, and the community.

The week of appreciation will conclude with an event Friday, July 18 featuring the band Boogie Wonderland.

You can check the bank’s web site www.statebankofdelano.com for more information.

“We value our customers,” Wendy Gilmer said. “We know they are the reason we are here.”

More on the 100-year history of State Bank of Delano will be featured in a later issue of the Delano Herald Journal.

Join the State Bank of Delano for a free movie

Bring in an item for the local food shelf through Friday, Jan. 18 and you will receive a movie ticket.

You must get your ticket in advance, and space is limited, one per person.

A free portable DVD player will be given away in each theatre immediately following the movie.

Movies will be shown at Delano Theatre Saturday, Jan. 19, beginning at 9, 9:15, and 9:30 a.m.

Movies available include:

National Treasure

Book of Secrets

The Water Horse

Alvin and the Chipmunks