With business loans of about $200 million and a single downtown location, First Community Bank is poised to extend its lending reach with a second location in 2006.

The bank received approval this month to open a branch near the intersection of Union and Academy boulevards, said First Community Bank Regional Vice President Doug Woods.

The existing location is at 121 S. Tejon St. in the Plaza of the Rockies.

Woods said the new branch would employ between 10 and 12 employees and include drive-thru banking lanes.

First Community Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of First State Bancorp, which operates banks in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

In 2006, First Community Bank will operate 41 New Mexico branches, two Utah branches, one Arizona branch, and six Colorado branches in Denver, Littleton, Lakewood, Colorado Springs, Longmont and Fort Collins.

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Woods said First Community Bank in Colorado Springs plans to open at least two more branches within the next five years.

Zions third for SBA loans

Zions Bancorporation, parent company of Vectra Bank of Colorado, ranked as the third largest SBA lender in the nation for fiscal year 2005.

Zions banks approved 2,584 U.S. Small Business Administration series 504 first mortgage and 7(a) loans for more than $844 million.

Zions was ranked as the top lender of 504 first mortgage loans with 659 loans totaling $597 million. Zions was ranked 10th for the number of 7(a) loans and No. 13 for dollars approved of 7(a) loans with 1,942 loans totaling more than $247 million.

The rankings and totals reflect the activity of all Zions subsidiary banks, which included institutions in California, Nevada, Arizona, Washington.

TCF to offer direct deposit

TCF National Bank has announced that it will begin paycheck direct deposit services for small and middle market businesses and their employees.

The Web-enabled service will allow businesses to send direct deposits to employees’ checking or savings accounts each payday.

Employers access a secure Web site and update direct deposit information each pay period or authorize the release of a previous payroll file containing the information to transfer money from the company payroll account to the employee account.

TCF has 442 banking offices in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and Indiana.

U.S. Bancorp dividends up

The U.S. Bancorp board of directors has approved a 10 percent increase in the dividend rate on U.S. Bancorp common stock to $1.32 on an annualized basis, or 33 cents on a quarterly basis, payable on Jan. 16 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 30.

The announcement represents 34 consecutive years of increased dividends, which have shown a compounded annual growth rate of 19.6 percent.

U.S. Bancorp, since 1863 through its predecessor companies, will have paid a dividend for 143 consecutive years as of Jan. 16.

The company, with $207 billion in assets, is the sixth largest financial holding company in the United States with 2,411 banking offices and 4,999 ATMs in 24 states.

UMB’s ‘Fearless Forecaster’

Business Week magazine has named William Greiner, UMB Bank’s chief investment officer, as its pick for “Fearless Forecaster: Stock Market Strategist of the Year.”

Greiner was one of 67 investment strategists to participate in a national survey in which his predictions about where equity markets would stand in December were the most accurate.

Greiner also was chosen to participate in next year’s Fearless Forecaster contest.

United Way gets $80,000

Ent Federal Credit Union employees raised more than $80,000 for the Pikes Peak United Way in 2005 by attending and taking part in various fundraising events.

Some 67 employees visited United Way benefactors, such as the Marian House Soup Kitchen, Silver Key Senior Services and children’s nurseries.

Compliance guide released

The federal bank and thrift regulatory agencies have released a compliance guide – Establishing Information Security Standards.

The guide summarizes financial institutions’ obligations for protecting customer information and illustrates how security guidelines are crucial to specific situations.

The guide also gives detailed explanations about core terms used in the security guidelines, as well as information to help financial institutions assess risks, design and implement an information security program, properly dispose of consumer information and oversee service providers who have access to customer information.

Regulatory agency officials warn that the guide addresses only a financial institution’s obligations under the security guidelines and does not address the applicability of any other federal or state laws or regulations that may pertain to policies or practices for protecting customer records and information.

The guide can be accessed at the Web sites of the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision.

Rob Larimer covers banking and finance for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.