Putnam quick with a smile, friendly banter at TS Bank Macedonia branch

Published: Jun 27, 2019 12:03:19 PM
Topics: Community, About Us, News

MACEDONIA, Iowa - The late morning rush in full swing, a smile stayed on Vicky Putnam’s face as she helped clients with deposits, withdrawals and more at the TS Bank Macedonia branch.

“We going to get that rain?” Putnam asked a longtime client.

“I hope not,” the man replied.

Putnam knows most everyone that she buzzes in through the door.

“He’s a plumber and an electrician,” Putnam said. “He’s trying to retire, but people keep calling him. He’s too good.”

In between helping clients, Putnam spent a busy Tuesday morning talking about her career with TS Bank and what it means for a small town like Macedonia to still have a place for people to go for banking.

The branch is located in downtown Macedonia, where Pioneer Trail – a roadway that honors the area’s history as a place settlers passed through on their way West or, spurred by the natural beauty of the area and fertile land, decided to stay – becomes Main Street.

Vicky at desk 3-1

The branch is the only financial institution in this town of 245, serving a population of proud Macedonians working to keep Main Street alive. Along with the bank, library and City Hall on Main Street, there’s the Painted Camel art shop, where owners Carol Jean and Paul Koch contribute to making Macedonia and southwest Iowa at large an artistic destination.

Across the street is the Grist Mill McCready Theatre, a longtime draw for quality community theater. Hope you caught “A Bad Year for Tomatoes” earlier this spring.

Next door, taco Tuesday is among the draws at the Back Forty, where you can find a crowd for lunch and dinner. The restaurant is back with new owners after a hiatus, which has locals happy. Diners can swing by the Pioneer Trail Museum and the Stempel Bird Collection and Museum, both downtown.

“It really helps with the morale of town to see cars on Main Street, to see people in town visiting, talking to each other,” Macedonia Mayor Gary Wax said. “It’s a social thing as well as an economic driver. We’re really happy to have people come to Macedonia.”

The DeWitt Community Center provides a space for community social and business events. Olde Town Park on the West Nishnabotna River provides a place for recreation. And you can put a kayak, canoe or other vessel on the river at the water access.

And there’s the bank, located in a building more than 130 years old that has housed banks since it was built.

“It’s vitally important to our community,” Wax said of TS Bank. “I need to run up there in a minute, actually. It’s great to have it here in town, to not have to drive to Council Bluffs or Treynor or another town.”

Wax credited TS Bank for its investment in community projects and fundraisers, along with being a part of the annual Donia Days celebration in the fall.

“The bank is a big part of our community and we appreciate them being here,” he said.

When TS Bank bought the building in 2000, it remodeled the facility, bringing back some of the original look and feel, including removing a lowered ceiling and restoring arched windows.

Macedonia pics on wall-2

The history of Macedonia hangs on the walls of the TS Bank branch, with photos of the former opera house – destroyed in a fire but memorialized in a mural visible from Main Street as you enter town from the west – and the David Cole Oysters store, where oysters “r” now in season.

The bank uses its original counter and teller windows, while the original brick is exposed around the vault door.

Macedonia vault door at branch-1

Putnam lives in Henderson in Mills County, where she was born and raised. For about 22 years – including almost 19 with TS Bank - she’s made the brief trek to Macedonia for work. The branch was a Mercantile Bank before TS Bank opened a branch in the building. Putnam worked for Mercantile for three years before the company was purchased by First Star, which closed the Macedonia branch in May of 2000.

“The people in Donia, they did not like that,” Putnam said, referring to the town by its oft-used nickname. “They got together, had a couple of meetings. Some people had an account in Treynor also, and they reached out to Mick.”

“Mick” is Mick Guttau, TS Bank’s current chairman of the board and former president and CEO. Recounting opening the Macedonia branch, Guttau said after speaking with community leaders he crunched the numbers and spoke with the TS Bank Board of Directors to make sure it would work. He also credited Tom Whitson, a longtime banker and former leader of People’s National Bank, for encouraging him.

“He said, ‘Mick, you can make it work,’” Guttau said.

So he made it work. The Macedonia branch marked the first expansion for TS Bank, with the company completing the purchase of the building and opening the branch in September of 2000.

“The more services that are available in a community, the more apt people are to stay there or be attracted there,” Guttau said. “Macedonia is an amazing community. They have some movers and shakers there that get things done. It’s been a joy to work with them.”

Between the May closing and September opening Putnam took a job with the Emerson Post Office in Mills County. She was going through training when TS Bank called.

“I got a call in the middle of the summer, wanting to know if I wanted to come back and operate this location with Ladonna,” Putnam said, mentioning Ladonna Stephens, who served as branch manager before retiring.

Putnam returned to banking.

“I hated to give up the post office, but I thought it was the right fit,” she said. “I decided to come back here - and I’m glad I did.”

Vicky at desk 2-1

At the Macedonia branch music plays softly in the background. A line forms. Area residents want to take care of business before the bank closes at noon.

“Seems like some people wait until it’s time to close before they come,” Putnam said with a chuckle.

A client and Vicky discuss recent flooding and its impact on farmers.

“Your dad keeping busy?” Putnam asked.

“Oh yeah” the woman replied, noting the effort to get equipment moved and clean up.

“Well you take care,” Putnam said as the woman departed.

A regular stops by in a rush – with no place to park, his semi is sitting in the middle of Main Street - drops off a check for deposit and leaves.

“I’ve known him for a while,” Putnam said. “I know his account number by heart.”

Another regular comes in the door, hobbling.

“What are you limping for?” Putnam asked.

“Oh I twisted my knee” the man replied.

“Well that’s no fun.”

After he left, Putnam turned and said, “I like the people here.”

“They’re real friendly. And they really work to keep the Main Street going,” she said.

“They do the best they can,” she continued, mentioning the museums, theater, restaurant and other attractions. “They have a lot of things here for the people to come and see and do.”

Stop by and see Vicky Putnam at the TS Bank Macedonia location at 310 Main St., or call 712-486-2424.

About TS Bank: TS Bank’s mission is to Ignite Prosperity® in the communities it serves. Leading the resurgence of community banking, TS Bank reinvests 10% of their net income locally; hosting educational events and partners with local organizations and non-profits. Treynor State Bank was chartered in 1923 and branded to TS Bank in 2005. TS Bank has $384 million in assets, along with the largest Iowa state-chartered C-Corp trust department west of Des Moines at nearly $245 million in assets named TS Prosperity Group. Branch locations include Treynor, Macedonia, Atlantic, Corning and Council Bluffs, Iowa. For more information visit tsbank.com.

Written by Mike Brownlee