First Bank branch manager, Joyce Cummings, accepts a plaque from Chamber of Commerce board member, Angela Christensen.

Petersburg Chamber of Commerce awarded First Bank the Business of the Year award at its annual banquet Saturday night. (Feb. 25) KFSK’s Angela Denning has more:

First Bank has been in Petersburg for over forty years. The bank first opened its doors locally on July 2, 1974.

“One of their grand opening advertisements was printed in Norwegian to make sure even the old timers knew what was happening,” Kensinger said.

That’s Chamber of Commerce’s board member, Dave Kensinger, speaking from the podium at the banquet. When Kensinger presented the award to First Bank he explained the many reasons why the company was receiving the honor.

“People filling out the nomination forms noted the following,” Kensinger said. “They provide excellent customer service, they contribute to local charities, employees volunteer time to the community, they stimulate the local economy through loans and other banking services. They’re helpful on the phone and always track down the answers to questions posed to them. They support local non-profits.”

And they recently ranked number one in Southeast Alaska for making more Alaska Housing Finance Corporation loans than any of the other lenders combined.
Joyce Cummings has worked at the bank for over thirty years. She’s a life-long Petersburg resident and now manages the bank. When accepting the award she said that the business supports women.

“Senator Sullivan made mention that he had some dealings with the Norwegian Department of Defense, is that right? And that they were a very female oriented organization,” Cummings said. “Well, as you can see, we are a very female oriented organization (interrupted by applause).”

Cummings referred to a nearby table full of female First Bank employees.

She says they believe that giving back to the community is a way to make it stronger.

“I know that these are tough times for the state, especially for our state,” Cummings said. “And with statewide issues they will trickle down to our community and already have. So the more we can do to support our businesses and our local organizations the better our community will do.”

The local First Bank is part of a chain that serves Southeast Alaska since 1924.