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Farmers State Bank

The family that works together stays together. It’s worked for the Pieper family.The historyFarmers State Bank and the Pieper family have been an institution on the plains of eastern Colorado since 1918 when Albert L Pieper (A.L.) began his banking career as a teller for Farmers State Bank in Peyton. In 1928, Pieper and his partner, John Phillips, bought controlling interest in the bank, and the Pieper banking legacy began. Pieper served as president from 1961 until his death in 1967.After the stock market crash of 1929, the bank was forced to close when Colorado pulled all bank state charters. Phillips, who was politically connected, took FSB’s ledgers to Denver and lobbied the state to allow them to reopen. He succeeded and FSB was the only operating bank on the eastern plains from 1929 to 1932.Phillips eventually left the bank to pursue a political career. He was elected to the state senate, and, in 1934, Pieper moved the bank to Calhan.Son JohnPieper’s son, John (Nap), married Dorothy Ann (D.A.) in 1946. After Nap Pieper graduated from law school in Denver, the two moved back to Calhan, and Nap Pieper joined the bank as head teller in 1952. D.A. Pieper said he wanted to modernize the bank using technology but remain customer focused and a community institution. Many of the bank customers had been with the bank through almost three generations, and Pieper wanted to ease them through the transitions.Knowing most all his customers by name, she said Nap Pieper would often sit and chat with them about their families and the local news. D.A. Pieper served as her husband’s assistant. “I did everything that he didn’t want to pay someone else to do,” she said. She also served on the Calhan school board, El Paso county planning commission, as well as other community positions.In 1974, the Pieper’s purchased the bank shares that the Phillip’s estate held, then purchased the remaining shares held by others. “We became the sole owners in 1974,” D.A. Pieper said. Nap Pieper served as president from 1974 to 1986. Now 82 years old, Nap Pieper still serves as chairman of the board and chief executive officer. His wife, who serves as vice chairman, said he’s missed only one board meeting since 1974.The grandchildren of Albert PieperThe Pieper’s had four children: Candy, twins Joan and John A. and Randy. All of them spent school vacations, summers and sometimes weekends working at the bank. “We started at the bottom literally – cleaning the basement,” Randy Pieper said. The worst job they had to do was to alphabetize by hand all the customer’s statements, he said. “We didn’t have computers then so everything had to be done by hand,” the younger Pieper said. “It took hours upon hours.” A family big on using initials, D.A. Pieper called it “F.S.”, which stands for “family service meaning long hours without pay,” D.A. Pieper said.Joan Pieper Lawson graduated from college and taught school in Falcon for six years. In 1980, her father told her it would be a good time for her to join the bank, as there was a new accounts position open. She agreed and eventually worked her way up to co-president and board member. Randy Pieper received his graduate degree from Columbia University and went to work for Price Waterhouse. In 1989, he joined the family business and serves as co-president and board member. Sister Candy Enix is a speech therapist and lives in Centennial, Colo. She is an active member of the board as well as brother John A. Pieper, who is the dean of the pharmacy school at the University of New Mexico. Of the nine board members, six are family.And there is a fourth generation as well. During high school summers and breaks, Nap and D.A. Pieper’s grandchildren perform a variety of tasks at the bank. “All of children have also worked in the bank, except Randy’s children as they are too young,” Joan Lawson said. “It’s in their blood.””We have always had old banking stuff in the basement, and our kids and grandchildren played “bank” all the time,” D.A. Pieper said. “In fact, Randy’s children are the youngest at ages 8, 5 and 2, and I still enjoy playing bank with them.”Banking in today’s worldFarmers State Bank does not still sort accounts by hand. The bank offers all modern banking services, including Internet banking. “We pride ourselves on being able to offer everything large banks offer, except at FSB when you call us a real person will answer the phone,” Randy Pieper said. “We offer exceptional service with the personal touch – the way it’s been done for almost 90 years.”The Pieper family has always stressed community service, and FSB gives 3 percent of its net income each year back to the local communities. The grants range in dollar amount and recipient, from $1,325 to Falcon Elementary School for a pottery wheel to $24,500 given to the Clarence Dzuris Post for help with their VFW building project. Other receipts include the Boy Scouts of America, Calhan Fire Department, Peyton High School and Elementary School, Rush Youth League and many other schools, cities, and organizations on the eastern plains. “We also encourage our employees, who now total 71, to participate in their communities,” Randy Pieper said.FSB’s expansion into Falcon and Ellicott was a result of suggestions from customers, Joan Lawson said. In 1995, FSB purchased the land on the corner of Meridian Road and Highway 24. “We purchased half from the Falcon Fire Department and the other half from the railroad so we could have an entrance off Meridian Road,” Randy Pieper said. The Falcon branch opened in 1999, and houses the Pieper & Sons Insurance Agency; a separate entity also owned by the Pieper family. The Ellicott branch opened in 2003. The Pieper’s have no further expansion plans. “We want to concentrate on servicing the customers we have,” Randy Pieper said.It remains to be seen if the youngest generation of Pieper’s will continue the legacy but the Piepers maintain: The family that works together stays together.

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