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BUSINESS FEATURE: ATB Financial continuing to invest in the community

Financial institution nominated for Large Business of the Year.
ATB Financial in Lacombe has been nominated for the Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce Large Business of the Year. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

ATB Financial in Lacombe continues to serve the community and has been nominated for Large Business of the Year by the Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce.

Zeke Pipke, branch manager at ATB Financial for six years, said it is a honour to be recognized and that the branch always is trying to look after their customers.

“The different spin we have than traditional banks is that we are Alberta-owned. All the money we bring in or lend stays in Alberta,” Pipke said. “All of our decisions are made in Alberta and our head office is in Edmonton, which is nice because we can get answers quickly.”

A huge part of serving the community of Lacombe for Pipke and his staff is giving back through charity.

“We pride ourselves on doing what we can. As everyone knows, budgets are tighter, so our donations are somewhat more limited than they used to be so we try and get out and be involved.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters is one we try to be involved with locally and The United Way is one we do at the provincial level.”

Pipke said it is important to support local initiatives because that is what keeps the community going.

“Everyone is searching for the same dollar from everyone and as we know, oil companies in Alberta were very successful in giving money for various non-profit organizations,” he said.

“That has kind of went away, so now we have to look at it from our point of view because these non-profit organizations are very important.”

Pipke said the branch also has community-minded people on staff.

“We have two or three staff that has been with us 30 plus years,” he said. “They are local people who live here right in Lacombe. We have some staff that are from Blackfalds and Ponoka but Lacombe is where we spend most of our time and we try to get involved with Lacombe as much as we can.”

Pipke said the key for ATB Financial staying competitive has been adapting to the needs of their customers.

“We came up with a new advertising technique a few years ago,” he said. “It is called ‘Listening’, so what we try to do is really listen to people and understand people. We want to get away from the competitive role where we advertise interest rates. You can see that everywhere. What we do is put our customers first and try to adapt what we can to their needs.

“We have a simpler approach to mortgages. We have a simpler approach to day-to-day banking. We customize what to what our customers need.”

Being involved with the Chamber has also helped ATB.

“We try to get out and support the Chamber,” Pipke said. “I have been with the Chamber for six years and another one of my teammates has been with the Chamber three years. We try to stay as informed as we can with the Chamber and have an active role with the Chamber.”

Pipke added, “We are very honoured to be nominated. We feel we aren’t different than any other financial institution but we have the right people. We try to look after people when they come in the door and we try to accommodate the best we can.”