When a bank moves, cops get called. It’s routine.
On Saturday, Belleville police officers were stationed both at 720 W. Main St., the Bank of Belleville’s home for the last decade, and at their newly-constructed location at 215 S. Illinois St., which will open Monday at 7:45 a.m. for the drive-through window and at 9 a.m. for the lobby, which features a gleaming, new marble floor.
By agreement, the former bank building on West Main will become new headquarters for the Belleville Police Department.
When the security units holding the safe-deposit boxes and containers of cash were moved in trucks Saturday, an officer in a squad car was stationed at both ends of the trip, and other officers were on foot patrol. The transport truck received a police escort. There were police officers, six in all, required by the bank’s insurance carrier, said bank president Kevin Pesko.
In a modern bank, foot-thick steel vault doors weighing a ton or more, common to banking operations decades ago, have given way to electronically-controlled doors flanked by an array of sensing devices hooked up to the police department.
“It’s a different security strategy,” said bank executive vice president Ron Stephens. “It’s not building a barrier. It’s depending on technology for security.”
The new, 9,000-square-foot bank is larger than the old by about 1,000 square feet. Stephens said two senior vice presidents have been added to handle an expected larger volume of business: Lisa Barton, senior vice president of operations, and Todd Neighbors, senior vice president of loans.
Area businesses welcomed the bankers and their police escorts, as well as the crews working on the trucks. Hicks Barbecue and Friday’s South restaurant sent chicken wings and pulled pork.
Pesko, the bank president, said the new location is expected to bring higher traffic because of its location near the YMCA building directly across the street, and city and county governmental offices just a few blocks away.
As for the success of the new location, “We’ll know Monday when we open,” said Pesko, “but there has been a lot of testing and study in this move. We’re confident we will be successful.”