On January 4, the first banking day in 2021, I arrived early at the North Hills Centre, just as the morning light caught the roofline of OHB’s brand new state-of-the-art banking headquarters located on the Lonnie Abbott frontage. The gables and the two lighted cupolas of the roofline caught the rising sun in a promise of the future for the Oklahoma Heritage Bank (OHB).
This day marked OHB’s first day of banking business in this location, and I along with all 33 OHB staff and 14 Directors from our four locations had been looking forward to this inaugural day since OHB opened its Ada location among the retail shops and restaurants within North Hills Centre.
Throughout the more than ten years of planning and more than two years of construction, all of us at OHB have dreamed of a three-day weekend of festivities to celebrate our first day of banking in our brand-new facility with our friends and neighbors from near and far. However, COVID-19 guidelines caused us to have a ‘soft opening’ instead.
Observing bank-security precautions this first morning, I used my electronic key fob to release the security locks and turn off the alarms, then stepped through the two sets of double doors to enter this futuristic open-style architecture of a building designed for 21st century banking. The massive stainless steel vault door dominates the opposite wall across the central lobby. Glass paneled walls, high ceilings, stained-wood trim, and dark granite-counter surfaces complement the quiet of the interior. Supersized skylights in the lobby as well as in the glass-enclosed Board Room bring natural light inside.
The 5300 square foot building, designed by ADG Architects in OKC, will facilitate OHB’s well-known personal-service banking. Using a design philosophy of form-following-function, an oblong Teller pod that resembles a standup desk contains the newest version of an interactive teller machine that replaces the traditional Teller counters. Another glass-enclosed area serves the four lanes of drive-through Teller stations that are visible beyond the glass-paneled east wall that frames the horizon beyond.
This innovative lobby design allows cross-trained Universal Bankers (UB) to assist customers with usual Teller transaction, but also these UBs can process loans, open and close accounts and fulfill other customer services and needs to streamline our customers’ experiences, bringing the wide world of banking to OHB’s friends and neighbors.
These first few days in the new headquarters have been a delightful time for us as we continue to refine the way we live and work in the new building. Of course, we remain masked and vigilant to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. We welcome you to drop in for a visit; appointments are not necessary.
The entire OHB staff and Board salute MacHill Construction Company of Ada who served as Contractor and provided Construction Management Services for the building, with subcontractor services drawn from Ada and the immediate area. Much appreciation and admiration go directly to Lead Contractor Supervisor Cason Hill who delivered a superbly built and furnished building, amidst all sorts of unforeseen weather complications as well as the yearlong Covid-19 pandemic.
2021 will be my third year as part of the OHB family, and my time has been filled with opportunities, challenges, new friends, longtime friends. I have been blessed with this satisfying time of personal growth in my banking career that began here in Ada over two decades ago. Working with the dedicated group of OHB staff, officers, and Board members has truly been like an extended family.
The OHB Board has a stable and longstanding membership. Indeed, we have only added two full members in ten years. The Board of Directors (Dr. Don Connally, Bo Cail, Wayne Cobb, Eric Fisher, Dr. Darryl Fisher, Rick Griffin, Cheryl Cody, Ron Tidwell, David Keith, Johnny Mann, and Dustin Riddle) has local roots in our communities. Dr. Katricia Pierson, Melissa Kelough, Skip Dixon, and Chance Branscum serve as Advisory Directors.
Since the Fisher family acquired the bank in the mid-1980s, personal service and conservative stewardship of customers’ funds has been the foundation of OHB’s banking philosophy. OHB’s success is directly a result of the entire staff’s customer-first and customer-friendly approach to banking, and we have every intention of carrying forth this service commitment. OHB Board Chairman Darryl Fisher has often spoken of this service dedication by the bank, “Over these years we have been trusted by thousands of our friends and neighbors who have provided us the honor of calling OHB my bank.”
This opening day for OHB’s headquarters concluded the Board’s ten-year strategic plan that led us to Ada and its flagship headquarters for the bank’s four locations (Ada, Roff, Stratford, and Byng). “In reality this opening day for the Ada location represents just the beginning of OHB’s Strategic Plan for the next decade,” Vice Chairman of the Board Eric Fisher recently told the bank’s staff. “Other area banks might be downsizing or abandoning Ada and its surrounding communities, but the Board of Directors of OHB saw opportunities to serve the personal and business banking needs of our friends and neighbors.”
All four of OHB’s locations operate with usual banking hours, but each of us in the OHB family welcomes hearing from our friends and neighbors any time we can be of help in any way. Let us hear from you. Drop in and take a look at a bank built for the 21st century.