Wednesday, Feb. 28 marks FirstBank’s 55th birthday. On that day, you can swing by any of our 115-plus locations to enjoy sweet treats and refreshments on us — in celebration of five and half decades of company growth.

We’ve been thinking about other ways we can recognize such an impressive milestone, and thought, there’s a lot people don’t know about us — maybe 55 things. So without further ado, here are 55 facts you don’t know about the country’s third largest privately-held bank:

History

 1. First customers. We opened 270 customer accounts on our first day of business in 1963.

2. First Westland National Bank. FirstBank was actually First Westland National Bank before being renamed FirstBank in 1978.

3. Our humble beginning. Our first “branch” was a 12’ by 50’ trailer affectionately known as “The Check Wagon.”

4. Saturdays. On June 14, 1963, we introduced Saturday morning banking. Some could say we were on the cutting edge of extended banking hours.

5. Founder. Roger Reisher was FirstBank’s founder and our first president. He was instrumental in making FirstBank the success story it is today and put forward many innovations and programs the company is still known for. Sadly Roger passed in 2013, but we still think of him often and even named our former boardroom after him.

6. California state-of-mind. FirstBank opened its first location outside Colorado in Palm Desert, California on Dec. 6, 1985.

7. 24-hour customer service begins. 24-hour telephone banking was introduced on April 3, 1989.

8. We joined the internet. In 1995, FirstBank joined the World Wide Web at www.1stbank.com.

9. FirstBank heads further west. In 2007, FirstBank opened its first location in Arizona.

10. Our cube gets introduced. FirstBank debuted its signature orange cube logo in August 2008.

11. FirstBank sidestepped the collapse. The bank didn’t originate subprime loans, helping FirstBank experience strong growth during the economic downturn. This kept us well capitalized and able to lend when other banks were dialing back loan efforts.

12. Colorado Gives Day is born. In December 2010, the inaugural Colorado Gives Day is declared with a goal of raising $1 million donations in 24 hours. Instead, the program raised over $8 million in one day.

13. Arizona Gives Day debuts. In April 2013, FirstBank and the Arizona Alliance of Nonprofits also debuted Arizona Gives Day, raising nearly $1 million in 24 hours for state nonprofits.

Customers

 14. Free Treats. FirstBank often thanks customers with different freebies, including free lunches, treats, and services. For instance, we did a Food Truck Friday promotion, where every Friday customers got a free meal on us.

15. Tickets. FirstBank customers also get priority access to tickets for shows at the 1STBANK Center, a multipurpose event venue that hosts popular performers and singers.

16. Surprises. To bring our “banking for good” mantra to life, FirstBank set out to make a positive impact on some long-time customers, who had been through especially hard times.

17. Partnership. We frequently partner with or hire our business customers for fun community events, like our Capture the Cube campaign with Never Summer and our Gingerbread House Event with Little Man Ice Cream.

18. Customer proposal and wedding. FirstBank got involved in two customers’ unforgettable proposal. We even contributed to their wedding day.

19. Free donuts. Multiple FirstBank branches offer free donuts every Saturday.

20. Promoting customers. Perhaps what’s most unique is the bank advertises its business customers on billboards, online ads and features businesses on its corporate blog, promoting several customers from window washers to international smartphone cover producers. You can also check out this video on how we helped business customers grow.

21. 24-hour customer service. The bank has a 24-hour call center – operated by people – not automated systems. In fact, we’ve been advised by outside consultants to switch to a more automated approach for cost-cutting reasons, but don’t believe that’s the right thing to do for customers or employees.

22. Customer growth. We have over 750,000 customers across three states today.

23. Generations. The majority of our customers are Millennials and Baby Boomers. Gen Xers also accounts for 28 percent of our customer base.

24. Free resources. FirstBank launched its Smart Cents blog to help customers and non-customers get tips and tricks for home ownership, financial health, business success, and savings.

Employees       

25. We started small. When we opened our doors in 1963, we had only 10 employees, including our founder.

26. Employee growth. Today, we have nearly 2,700 employees.

27. Long-term employees. Over a third of our workforce has been with FirstBank for more than 10 years.

28. Longer-term employees. What’s more, almost 300 of our employees have been with FirstBank for 20 years or longer.

29. Employees are owners. We are privately-held, and our employees have majority ownership in the company.

30. Promote from within. The reason so many of us have been with FirstBank for years, or decades even, might have something to do with our “promote from within” culture. We usually hire for management positions internally and are here to help employees lead progressive careers.

31. High satisfaction. FirstBank has been recognized as a Top Workplace by the Denver Post for six consecutive years, a Top Company by ColoradoBiz magazine and was named among the “Best Places to Work” by the Phoenix Business Journal.

32. Employee videos. To display our fun work atmosphere and provide insight to why we’re a top company, FirstBank produced two videos: Working for FirstBank and Good to Be a FirstBanker, which also won first place in Phoenix Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” video contest. If you haven’t seen these yet, put on your headphones and turn up the volume.

33. Women rule the roost. Did you know over 60 percent of our employees are women? Our own COO, Emily Robinson, was even recognized as one of Denver Business Journal’s “Most Outstanding Women in Business.”

34. Education funding. FirstBank invests heavily in training and education programs for its 2,500+ employees — as well as their children. The bank has contributed millions to educational support for employees and their families.

35. We come from all over. FirstBank has an extremely diverse workforce with hundreds of employees coming from multiple countries and cultures. Our employees can collectively speak well over 30 different languages.

Community Involvement

36. Top philanthropist. FirstBank consistently ranks as one of the most philanthropic companies in Colorado according to Denver Business Journal’s “Giving Guide.”

37. Donations. FirstBank has donated more than $60 million to local nonprofits since 2000. Each year, the company donates roughly $4 million or more to about 1,000 local charities in Arizona, Colorado and Palm Desert.

38. Volunteer time off. The Company’s Employee Volunteer Program gives employees two days of paid time off to support organizations they’re passionate about. This means we pay employees to volunteer.

39. Gives Days. Colorado Gives Day and Arizona Gives Day have collectively raised over $190 million for area nonprofits since their inceptions ($181 million was raised in CO; $10.1 million in AZ).

40. Give It Forward. Several FirstBank officers and executives disguised themselves as grocery store baggers and station attendants to surprise hundreds of people with a free bill – in hopes they would “give it forward” to a charity of their choice on Gives Day.

41. Giving pillars. We aim to contribute a sizable portion of our profits annually to affordable housing, economic growth, and education-related charities.

42. Transforming Colorado. The bank was the financial partner behind iconic attractions and revitalization projects, including Union Station, Stanley Marketplace, Hangar 2, and even had a big hand in helping Vail grow. Check out this video to find out how FirstBank has been transforming Colorado.

43. Scholarships. FirstBank contributed nearly $4 million since 1988, helping 400 students go to college through its Scholars Program.

44. Nonprofit boards. Most FirstBank Officers serve with nonprofit organizations – many usually serve at the board level.

45. Billboards for good. Last April, FirstBank partnered with Arts Streets — a nonprofit helping youth break the cycle of poverty through art and education — to create its outdoor ads. This gave young artists like 16-year-old Laura Carrillo and 17-year-old Victor Martinez the chance to have their artistic creations appreciated by Coloradans throughout the state.

Tech Fun + Innovations

46. Techie solutions. FirstBank is continually exploring ways to make banking more convenient for customers. We’ve invested in new technologies to help make everything—from banking, to managing credit/debit cards, to loan applications—easier.

47. Zelle me. We were one of the first banks in the country to offer Zelle, an instant and easy mobile payment service that can transfer funds to account holders around the country within minutes.

48. Mobile gains. We were also one of the first U.S. regional banks to offer FirstGlance via our mobile app. There’s a lot you can do on our app, including; deposit checks, view deposits, transfer funds, view history, find locations, etc.

49. Freeze your cards. Did you know if you misplace your debit/credit card, you can actually freeze them online without contacting customer service or stepping into a branch?

50. Log travel plans online. We all forget to notify our bank of big travel plans. Something about long wait times and automated responses that makes it too taxing. That’s no biggy here. You can go online and with the clicks of a few buttons, notify us you’re headed out of town. Or call our 24-hour customer service, where you can talk to real people in no time.

51. Growing in IT. Many people don’t realize it, but FirstBank is actually becoming a growing tech company. We have to in today’s digital world. As a result, we’ve expanded our IT department to roughly 300 people and continue to hire more and more tech-savvy employees. Need a job? Wink-wink.

52. Renovated HQ. Our new 227,000 sq. ft. headquarters was recently completed and includes a rooftop patio, fitness center, game room, central courtyard, café, and even private nursing rooms for new mothers.

53. More like a tech campus. Our headquarters building itself is filled with technology to improve work life, communications, customer service, and ultimately products and services. For instance, we have biometric scanning to access some areas of the building. We also have video teleconference rooms and collaborations stations, and all employees desks are wired to move up or down with the touch of a button. Pretty cool, eh?

54. Video walls. Yes, even some of our branches have full-length video walls to keep passersby up-to-date with the latest news and other feel-good information. Check out our Union Station branch to see this in action.

55. Capture the Cube. If you enjoyed fun, interactive apps, snowboarding/skiing and winning stuff, then you would’ve LOVED our Capture the Cube promotion. Winners could use our Capture the Cube app to find hints and clues about where our FirstBank cubes were hidden so they could redeem them for a special edition snowboard or ski.

When it comes to what’s ahead for FirstBank, expect to see a lot more from us. Our goal is to continue helping customers, communities and employees thrive. Here’s to another 55 years.

6 comments on “55 Things You May Not Know About FirstBank

  • I worked for this amazing organization for 22 years and it’s the people and the feeling of family that I really remember and miss. When I started, there were 11 locations. I am not surprised to see how FirstBank has continued to grow and be a leader in the banking world and the community.

  • My mother was one of the first customers when the Wheat Ridge trailer opened on 44th and Wadsworth. She and my brothers went every Saturday.

  • I’ve been a first bank customer since your early beginning in Lakewood, Co. I’ve always enjoyed my association with your bank, and it’s friendly atmosphere and terrific people. Interestingly, when we had to leave Colorado…we moved to Palm Desert, CA. We were so amazed and overjoyed, when we saw the 1st Bank here and knew we were ‘home’ again. Then we also had a place in Arizona while we were there, and sure enough, another 1st Bank! So we’ve pretty amazingly followed your own history, much to our great satisfaction in keeping ‘in the family’ so to speak. We still love being 1st Bank customers after 50 years and more. Thank you.

  • Yes, indeed, we’ve appreciated FirstBank for almost 17 years — we have our personal and business accounts with FirstBank. FirstBank savings accounts were the first accounts for our young children and now as young adults, they have continued with checking and savings accounts too. FirstBank is our favorite and though we have lots of banks to select from in metro Denver, we’ve valued their friendly and very helpful service in every aspect of our banking needs. Happy 55 years, FirstBank!!!

  • We are long-time customers of 1stBank. We started at the “Check-Wagon” branch in Wheat Ridge in 1975. We have had at least 4 Mortgages, and lots of Bank Accounts, for our Personal and Real-Estate Business. We Love 1stBank. We are proud that our GrandSon has chosen to make his career with 1stBank. He is an Assistant Manager. Happy 55 Anniversary, and good luck going forward.

  • We are long-time customers of 1stBank. We started at the “Check-Wagon” branch in Wheat Ridge in 1975. We have had at least 4 Mortgages, and lots of Bank Accounts, for our Personal and Real-Estate Business. We Love 1stBank. We are proud that our GrandSon has chosen to make his career with 1stBank. He is an Assistant Manager. Happy 55 Anniversary, and good luck going forward. -LB

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