Bank’s transition to new name, ownership expected to be smooth

By Tony Parra

Access Bank is now officially the First Community Bank and banking officials said customers will notice the transition, but they’re confident that customers will only experience minor inconveniences.

Linda Wedeen, senior vice president of First Community Bank, said the Access Banks in Portales and Clovis officially became First Community Banks in January. Weeden said there will be radio, newspaper ads and billboard signs with the new name.

“It’s still going to be banking as usual for us,” Wedeen said. “We are trying to make the transition as smooth as possible for our customers. We are very excited about our presence in southern and eastern New Mexico.”

Weeden said acquisition of banks in Las Cruces, Clovis and Portales is their first venture into the eastern part of the state.

The Access Banks of Portales and Clovis were acquired by First State Bancorporation during the summer, according to bank officials.

A company official said customers should not expect any major changes in service, but employees in the accounting department may lose their jobs.

“We are making every effort to accommodate any employees who will be affected negatively,” said Mike Stanford, the bank’s chief executive officer. “We plan to move them to other positions if necessary.”

Weeden said there will be a conversion in the computer systems. She said eventually there may have to be changes in account numbers for customers. There will also be new checkbooks with the First Community Bank name on them.
Terry Blaschke, market president for the Clovis and Portales branches, said they are in the research process to see if there are any duplicate account numbers. Blaschke said they are finding a minimal number of duplicate account numbers in the research process, which is ongoing.
Blaschke said there are approximately 45 full-time employees in the Clovis First Community Bank and 10 employees in the Portales Access Bank.

“It’s been going well,” Blaschke said about the transition. “Over the next few months it’s going to get better.”

First Community Bank, New Mexico’s largest locally managed bank holding company, donated more than $1 million to not-for-profit organizations, community groups, charities in 2005, according to a press release from First Community Bank.

Blaschke said they will be meeting with Eastern New Mexico University officials about creating a scholarship.
Wedeen said First Community Bank members look forward to working with area charities in Clovis and Portales, such as the United Way of Eastern New Mexico.

They gave donations to organizations such as Carrie Tingley Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity Boys and Girls Clubs, and the United Way of Central New Mexico.