Forcht Bank brings new concept to area

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By Thomas Barr

 HILLVIEW – When looking for a place to open a new concept in in-store banking centers, Jason Stuecker said Forcht Bank officials were in search of just the right spot.

     On Thursday, officials from Bullitt and Jefferson counties both help Forcht Bank open its state-of-the-art banking center in the Hillview Kroger on Mud Lane.

     Combining technology with a new floor plan, Forcht Bank is able to provide a full-service financial facility all within 400 square feet of space, according to Stuecker, market president.

     Stuecker said the design is totally new to the state of Kentucky, although the concept of having banking institutions inside retail stores has become common over the years.

     In an effort to present an open approach, Stuecker said the five banking employees are not hidden behind walls or offices. They are visible to the customers of both the bank and the grocery store.

     With four locations already in Jefferson County, the Kentucky-based bank was looking for something in the Hillview area.

     With the new facility, Forcht Bank will be able to service both the northern Bullitt County and southern Jefferson County communities. The interest of the elected officials was evident as the mayor of Louisville and Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts were both in attendance.

     They were joined by a Jefferson County councilwoman from the district, as well as Hillview city clerk Karen Gathof, Bullitt County Economic Development Authority director John Snider, state Rep. Charlie Miller, and various members of the Bullitt County Chamber of Commerce.

     “Bullitt County people love to deal with a local bank,” said Stuecker. “And we love to be able to serve the people of the community.”

     Tucker Ballinger, president of Forcht Bank, joked that it might have been his first grand opening for a 400-square-foot facility.

     But he said it was the branch of the future. The in-store facilities will continue to be a growing trend.

     Plus, he looks for smaller stand-alone office facilities being built in the future.

     “We’re very excited to be here,” said Ballinger.

     The company has 30 locations in 12 communities in Kentucky.

     A key to the company’s growth has been the work of the employees. He credited them for their commitment and dedication to serving the customers.

     Jenny Estepp, executive director of the Bullitt County Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the bank to the organization and she was excited about their commitment and investment in the community.

     The full-service banking services, which include opening and closing a loan, will be available seven days a week. Hours will be 10-7 on Monday through Friday, 10-4 on Saturday and 11-3 on Sunday.

     In meeting the desires of the customer, Stuecker said the operating hours start a little later and end a little later than normal institutions. He said that is becoming an industry norm as those using the banking centers like the ability to visit a little later into the evening.

     For more information, call 969-6650 or go to www.forchtbank.com