History of Citizens Independent Bank in St. Louis Park

Citizens Independent Bank has a rich history in the Park.
Long before the days of the ATM, Citizens Independent Bank was launching an early version of drive-through banking in St. Louis Park.

Citizens Independent Bank has been an institution in St. Louis Park for an impressive 64 years.  From humble beginnings, Citizens has become a full-service bank with assets of $300 million and branches throughout the area.  
    
On January 16, 1950, Citizens State Bank opened at 5001 Excelsior Blvd. with six employees. Early stockholders included local businessmen who wanted the convenience of a nearby bank. The bank’s first president was G.S. Evarts; Clarence (C.T.) Holberg, known as Jinx, was vice president. While Evarts had an extensive banking background, Holberg had been the successful owner and operator of the Acme Cleaning and Window Washing Co.; he became bank president in 1957.
    
In 1954, Citizens State Bank announced the prototype of drive-through banking with a letter-drop service (“ ’Round the clock’ banking–you never leave your car”), which turned out to be so popular that Excelsior Boulevard was often backed up for blocks.
    
The bank was the victim of two robberies, one in 1955 and one in 1963. In both, the robbers got away with about $10,000, despite a hail of bullets.  
    
In August 1973, Citizens moved across the street to 5050 Excelsior Blvd. The street was closed and employees moved everything, including money and safe deposit boxes, by hand. Over the years more branches were opened, and in 1980 the bank was purchased by current owner Connie Bakken. In 1991, Citizens State Bank of St. Louis Park became Citizens Independent Bank.  
    
On October 12, 2004, the bank moved once again, to 5000 W. 36th St. Some items were carried to the new building by employees in honor of the 1973 manual move across Excelsior Blvd.  
    
The original building (pictured above) housed a B. Dalton bookstore for 20 years and is now the home of Dairy Queen. Perhaps ironically, the Dairy Queen has been unsuccessful in getting a permit for a drive-through!

Jeanne Andersen is a trustee on the board of the St. Louis Park Historical Society
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