MARBLETON – Although the Marbleton Town Council was poised to consider changing its use of Bank of the West as its official fiscal year depository, the action was tabled after hearing from the Big Piney bank’s manager.
Joanie Christie, who has embraced her community as a frequent volunteer after her move there last year, asked to address the council about Bank of the West’s apparent “slap in the face to Wyoming” that it would not do business with many oil, natural gas and coal businesses.
“I just want to say a couple of things,” Christie told the council. “I’m not going anywhere.”
She said that Bank of the West’s announcement was a marketing tactic that failed and instead angered its customers across Wyoming and the West. Bank of the West has 23 locations in this state and is based in San Francisco and owned by a foreign corporation.
“It was a marketing thing, to shock and awe the West, and it did,” Christie said. “None of the policies or procedures has changed. Please read the fine print.”
The backlash has been felt locally and nationally, she added.
“My team is most worried about how to best help this community,” she told the council. “If the best way my team can serve you is to close your account, we will do that.”
Mayor Jim Robinson said their job is to be community leaders. “The majority of our revenues are derived from oil and gas.”
Christie said poor performers that Bank of the West refers to are those that neither the bank nor the town would want to have as partners.
“Those are people we wouldn’t want to be doing business with anyway. I ask you please to read the fine print.”
Mayor Robinson agreed – “We will; I guarantee we will discuss this. This is not at all directed to the employees – I can’t stress that enough. It is not personal.”
Councilmembers Roger McMannis, Jeff McCormick, BJ Meador and Mack Bradley agreed the Bank of the West’s overall announcement created bad feelings.
“It was poorly written and did bring shock and awe,” McCormick said.
Robinson said, “We need to appoint a bank and I don’t think we want to make a rash jump out – but we need to make some kind of statement. Should we table this?”
Town attorney Thayne Peterson said, “You can table this, especially under circumstances like these.”
“We will support whatever you choose to do,” Christie said.
The council unanimously approved tabling its appointment of an official depository until its Sept. 10 meeting.