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Al Kreps ñ someone you can bank on

Al Kreps wasnít sure what he wanted to do in life, but he knew he enjoyed helping others. Eventually, he went from farming to a successful career in banking.Kreps grew up in Kersey, Colo., ñ a small farming community just east of Greeley. ìMy grandparents on my fatherís side came to that town in 1909, just a few months before the town was founded,î Kreps said. ìMy motherís family came to Denver from Missouri in 1898. My mother is a native of Denver.î Kreps is a third-generation Coloradoan.Raised on a dairy farm, he understood hard work. ìI milked a lot of cows and drove a lot of tractors,î he said.During his last two years of high school, Kreps farmed to earn extra money for college. In 1950, he graduated valedictorian from Kersey High School.After graduation, Kreps had hopes of becoming a minister, so he headed to Fort Worth, Texas, where he enrolled at the Bible Baptist Seminary. He attended the school for two years before becoming ìdisillusioned,î he said. Kreps noticed some of his fellow classmates frequently fighting. ìThat didnít seem very Christian-like to me,î he said. ìI decided that was not the place I should be.îKreps married and returned to Colorado ñ to Greeley. Uncertain of his career path, he explored his options. Should he use an academic scholarship he had to attend college or get a job? Kreps did some research at the library on various vocations and occupations. ìOne of my strengths was math, and I had an interest in helping people,î he said. ìSo it looked like being a banker might be the thing for me.îKreps applied for a job at First National Bank in Greeley. He met with several of the bankís staff members, including the bank president who asked him two questions: ìWhere did you graduate in your class? If you came to work here what would be your ambition?î As the valedictorian of his class, Kreps flew with flying colors through the first answer ñ valedictorian. On the second, Kreps said this to the interviewer: ìI donít mean to be presumptuous, but someday I would like to have your job.îKreps was hired and started as the bankís ìgopher,î he said. ìAnyone that said go do something I would go do it.î It didnít take him long to move up the ranks ñ first to the bookkeeping department and then to bank teller.About 1953, Kreps had an opportunity to work at the United State Bank of Grand Junction as an assistant supervisor of the bookkeeping and proof operations. He worked there until 1955, when he was drafted into the United States Navy. Not long after joining the service, Kreps was assigned aboard the USS Phillips, a ship docked in Pearl Harbor. After roughly 21 months in the Navy, Kreps was discharged and returned to Colorado.Again, he had to decide between college and a job. He took a job at First National Bank of Denver as a vault teller and eventually worked his way up to supervisor of the bankís drive-up facility. Kreps had also decided to start college, but at the same time he received notification from the personnel department that he was one of 90 people selected for the position of systems analyst programmer. After a series of tests, Kreps and six others were hired to design systems and write software for the bank. ìSo, there I went into a different kind of school,î he said. ìWe took a correspondence course for concepts for solid-state computers.î It didnít take long for Kreps to become the senior systems analyst.In 1969, Kreps left his job at the First National Bank of Denver; and, along with several other partners, started Colorado Computer Center. He continued to work in the banking industry helping banks, primarily in Colorado, convert their computer systems and software.In 1972, while converting Midstates Bank in Denver, Kreps was asked to be the head of operations. ìSo, I decided to get back into the banking side,î he said ñ on a different side of the banking world. ìI got into the problem bank business after that,î Kreps said. He served as vice president and cashier for Coronado National Bank in Denver ñ ìand that in itself is a book,î he said. ìLiterally, it is absolutely a book.î Kreps recalled several encounters with the members of the Mexican and Italian mobs, who were customers of Coronado National Bank.Kreps left Coronado and became the president of Northwest State Bank in Arvada, Colo., until 1975, when he decided to switch gears and consult for area banks on computer systems and other areas of need.In 1980, while at a bank meeting, Kreps met a woman named Tricia, who was impressed with his history in the banking industry. She asked him to dinner (he had been divorced for several years from his first wife). The two hit it off, and eventually Tricia asked him to join her familyís bank in La Junta, Colo. They married in March 1981.Eighteen years later, a developer asked the Kreps if they would be interested in purchasing land in Falcon to build another bank. They were, and they did. ìWhen we bought this, there was nothing out here,î Kreps said. ìSafeway wasnít even out here.î About two years later, they purchased another acre of land directly east of the first site; and, in 2000, The State Bank of Falcon opened for business in a modular building shaped like a train caboose. ìWe put that building in; that was not my idea,î he said. ìThe banking commission pushed that. I really just wanted to put up a building and then open.îIn May 2006, The State Bank moved across the street to its present location. ìWe chose this because we saw it as a new and growing area,î he said. ìI would say within the next 20 years Falcon; conceivably, with the right leadership, could be the center of Colorado Springs.îThe Kreps own a home in La Junta and added a second home in Falcon in April 2005. Kreps has been with The State Bank for 32 years ñ and his wife, president of the bank, has 38 years in the family business.The bank will celebrate its 120-year anniversary in May.

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