LIFE IN OUR MOUNTAIN TOWN: Local banks battle for business |

LIFE IN OUR MOUNTAIN TOWN: Local banks battle for business

When Truckee River Bank first opened its doors, my husband tried to convince me to move my money from the big corporate bank in town to the newly established local bank.

At the time, Truckee River Bank’s first office was set up in a dirt parking lot behind the downtown post office. It was housed in a trailer, set on a cinderblock foundation. It wasn’t a trailer with wheels, which could pull away in the middle of the night, but I envisioned it that way, and so for a while I chose to not trust such a questionable-looking facility with my money.

Then, my husband and I merged our bank accounts. By that time, I had started to see the merits of a local bank, where the tellers all knew you by name, and where your application for a loan would be reviewed by people who lived here and knew you, not by some corporate executive in the Bay Area.

Also and more importantly to me, the bank had by that time acquired an actual building, sitting squarely on the corner of Jibboom and Bridge streets.

What I realized the other day regarding what I like about banking at this particular bank, is that I can just pull my car up onto the sidewalk right in front, hop out, and take care of my banking. I don’t know if there are many other banks in the entire country where you can do that.

There’s something very handy about being able to park on the sidewalk right in front of the ATM machine, do your banking, and quickly be off to the next stop.

Next to the convenience of parking on the sidewalk right in front of the bank, I also love the Hawthorn trees that line the southern edge of the parking lot. Every spring, which usually occurs here sometime in June, these trees bloom magnificent pink blossoms that are absolutely beautiful. I will often park in the bank parking lot right underneath one of the blooming Hawthorn trees, instead of up on the sidewalk, just so that I can spend a few extra moments enjoying them.

Also, you can’t always park on the sidewalk right in front of the bank, because sometimes another bank customer is parking there. I know I am not the only customer who parks there.

Lately there’s been news of a new bank coming to town, the Plumas Savings Bank based out of Quincy which promises to give us that small town feeling reminiscent of the old Truckee River Bank.

Once this new bank opens its doors, I believe those of us living here in Truckee will have six banks from which to choose to do business. There’s the bank in the grocery store. And there’s US Bank, which used to be Heart Federal. And there’s Placer Savings over by Longs. And finally, there’s the already mentioned Bank of the West and Bank of America, so the new Plumas bank will make six. (Due to a recent letter to the editor citing my faulty fact-checking skills, I am trying to be more accurate in my reporting, rather than just throwing out numbers thinking it’s probably right.)

There was a time, which maybe only existed for a year or two, when the old Truckee River Bank and the larger Bank of America used to enter sparring floats in our local Fourth of July parade. I know Heart Federal was in business at the time, but I don’t remember that bank (the current US Bank) as ever having a float in the parade. And since I could be wrong about this, I do welcome anyone who may offer a correction.

Anyway, it seemed to me as if the two banks carried on a friendly rivalry that could be compared to the Truckee/North Tahoe rivalry in which you might see signs at high school athletic games that say things like “Shred the Red” or “Drown the Lakers.”

As the parade floats belonging to the two banks would go by, parade-goers would cheer if it were their bank. I don’t recall anyone actually booing. Instead, those of us seated along the parade route would wave because that’s what you do when you see someone on a float in the parade that you know. And chances were, you knew at least a few of the bank employees riding on the back of each flatbed truck.

Well, those were days gone by, when things were simpler in Truckee. Those were the days when you had three choices of where to bank. With that number now doubled, I still like the fact that I do business at a bank where I can pull up on the sidewalk to park.

Katie Shaffer has lived in

Truckee since 1981.

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