by Long Hwa-shu
NorStates Bank, Waukegan’s home-grown bank, opened its long-awaited and newest facility on busy Green Bay Road close to the corner of Grand Avenue.
The 2,452-square foot red brick building, a coin’s throw from the old branch at the corner, is on a one-acre lot with three drive-up lanes. The corner, by the way, is under development for a Thornton gas station.
Those attending the event March 29, marveled at how “beautiful” the new branch, billed as a “state-of- the-art” banking facility, looks. It is efficiently laid out, well-lighted and comfortably furnished.
Mayor Wayne Motley who cut the ribbon officially opening the branch, congratulated bank officials for making the move to building the facility. “I banked with this business (formerly the Bank of Waukegan) when I started banking,” he quipped.
Scott Yelvington, NorStates president and chief executive officer, thanked the community for its support. The branch, known as one of the busiest and fast-growing among the bank’s eight locations, he said, will continue to serve the needs of the community with renewed vigor. The branch, headed by Lloyd Borland, is staffed by eight people.
“Many happy transactions,” Yelvington said.
Among those attending were the twin sons, Michael and Patrick, and daughter Lisa, children of Fred Abdula, the late chairman and CEO of the bank. Mr. Abdula was well-known for his untiring civic contributions.
“Our father would have been very happy and proud to see the new branch opening,” said the heirs almost in unison.
Frank J. Furlan Jr., 86, the longest-serving member of the bank board, said when he joined the board, the bank had only one location on Lewis Avenue.
“I’ve watched it grow, now with eight locations,” he said, adding that he had visited the construction site of the latest branch almost daily since ground was broken last September. A civil engineer, he said he had kept a log on the construction progress.
“We used 100 percent local labor,” Rick Grosskopft, project manager for La Macchia Group of Milwaukee, the developer, pointed out. Construction was completed in six months, minus days of inclement weather, said Ben La Macchia, company vice president.
Wine flowed at the reception, and refreshments were served. The bank gave away coffee mugs and chocolate gold coins as souvenirs for the auspicious occasion.