Mariachi music, a fun game of soccer, battling three piñatas, and a Folkloric dancing group filled Skyline Baptist Church as Branson Bank hosted their first Cinco de Mayo event. Around 200 individuals from the community joined the bank as they celebrated the Mexican holiday, providing dinner to everyone in attendance.
According to Branson Schools, it is reported that in 2000, of the 2,923 total students, 106 were Hispanic, representing 3.6% of the student body. Comparatively, in 2014 of the 4,597 total students, 574 were Hispanic, representing 12.4% of the student body.
“The numbers show there is a growing need to reach out to the increasing Hispanic population in our community,” said Bill Jones, President of Branson Bank. “In April of 2014, we expanded our banking services by hiring Maria Valenzuela, a Personal Banker, to chair our Hispanic Program at the bank offering full service banking to Spanish speaking individuals in our community.”
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1891-1897).
Branson Bank recently sponsored the Community Resource Fair where over 280 community members came together to receive free health screenings, spoke to local law enforcement, and provided state-of-the-art banking material for those individuals wishing to join the Branson Bank family. This bank is one of the few in Taney County that is locally-owned and operated, meaning the money stays local. When money is deposited in any of their three convenient locations, they are then able to fund projects in the area to help economic development.
Wes Strange, current Chairman of the Holding Company, Branson BancShares Inc., as well as a Director at Branson Bank was recognized as part of the Missouri Bankers Association’s elite 50 Year Club at their annual convention held at the Chateau on the Lake.
According to the Missouri Bankers Association, the 50 Year Club is an honor for those bankers who have given 50 years of service to the banking industry. Nominees are honored and inducted in the 50 Year Club and are presented with a plaque and pin commemorating the milestone.
“Wes and I both shared the same vision in creating a community bank that truly cared for its customers, employees, and community,” said Bill Jones, President at Branson Bank. “This vision began forming in 1998 and finally came to fruition when Branson Bank opened its doors in Branson, MO on March 22, 2000. Wes was, and still is, an instrumental part in the creation and continued success of Branson Bank. His commitment to excellence, his love of helping people make their dreams come true, and devotion to the community after all these years is deserving of recognition.”
Wes Strange started his banking career after graduating from the University of Missouri in January of 1960. All of his work experience has been in banking beginning with the Farm Credit Association for the first four years and then on to other various banks over the course of his 55 years. Titles have ranged from Field Representative to Teller, Assistant Vice President, Vice President, President, CEO, and Board Chairman.
When asked about his philosophy in banking Wes Strange stated, “Our customers entrust us to take their money and safeguard it, using it wisely to help as many people as possible, when and where we are able. This fiduciary trust is a heavy responsibility not to be taken lightly, but to try and help both sides of the equation, as much as possible.”
Pictured LtoR: Mary Morey, Tim Scott, Lyndi Carnelison, Jerry DeGraffenreid, Wes Strange, Saundra Strange, Renee Anderson, Bill Jones, Peter Peitz, and Halley Fleming