Published 12:38 am Wednesday, July 26, 2017

CCB Community Bank is planning a party tomorrow.

It’s the bank 70th anniversary, and they’ll be serving cake and ice cream the Andalusia branch. A similar party is set for Friday in Opp.

“We wouldn’t be here without our customers and our bankers, so this is a celebration of them,” said marketing manager Joy Norris.

“Our founders started with the dream of being a local bank that would go the extra mile for customers,” Norris said. “One of the founders made the point that they wanted to be progressive. They wanted us to be the first at everything we could.”

If those founders could see their bank now, they’d likely be pleased. It was the first in the county to offer drive-up banking; the first to have electronic imprinted and numbered checks with customers’ names in a matter of minutes; the first to recognize women as officers; the first to offer statement c heck imaging; and the first to offer mobile banking.

“Some of the things we were first to do seem so simple now,” she said. “For instance, check imaging came in 1995. That was a huge step.”

Now, the bank is using touch ID for Internet banking access, and working with digital marketing and social media.

The bank has always embraced technology, board member John Vick said, but prides itself in having no automation in the phone system.

“We do all of the online features – online bill pay and pop money,” he said. “But we want to keep that in balance. We are proud we still provide someone to talk with when you call.”

The bank also has long been committed to teaching customers financial literacy, Norris said. CCB launched the Koala Club in 1995, and gives area teachers access to Bonsai, a curriculum teachers can use to work financial literacy into lessons.

Norris said the longevity of CCB’s bankers also has been a key. Of its current 115 employees, 91 have worked in the bank 10 years or more, and 31 have more than 20 years with the bank. One will mark 40 years this fall.

“Our future is to keep up as much as anything,” Vick said. “Things are changing so fast. The key is to remain first, but at the same time, continue to provide that customer care we’ve always done.

“I think big banks dominate financial sector nationally,” he said. “But there’s still a place for banks like CCB. I see not a lot changing for banks other than technology.”

During Thursday’s celebration, visitors can register to win one of three $500 CDs. There also will be promotional items, and the Andalusia branch will be open until 6 p.m. so that customers may stop by on the way to July Jamz.