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Itasca Bank

One of the charms of a modest-sized community is the kind of precision and experience its businesses tend to boast. Less likely to rely on major store chains and more on skillful, friendly and personable denizens who have a history of doing business, villages like Itasca can weather through tough times and major changes thanks to those enterprising, knowledgeable citizens and businesses. For example, longtime Itasca staple, Itasca Bank, has served the community for 60 years, and was borne out of a key shift in the community. From that shift, Itasca found not only the will to survive, but to flourish; from that shift, Itasca acquired Itasca Bank.

Locally owned and operated since 1948, Itasca Bank began as an enterprise of Elmer Franzen. The Franzens had entered the Itasca community in 1888, working in banks throughout the area. By 1948, the bank in town had decided to move out of the community, a serendipitous relocation for Elmer. “In 1948, the bank in Itasca moved to Bensenville, a neighboring town,” relates Jack Mensching, current President of Itasca Bank, “so he opened up the Itasca State Bank in the same building; the same day the other moved out of town.”

Not until 1977 would the bank change its name to Itasca Bank, but the genesis of the bank goes back to nearly 30 years before it. With time, Jack Mensching’s father took over as president, Mensching’s mother being a Franzen herself. Later, Jack would become president, and remains so to the present. Elmer Franzen began by seeing the previous bank’s departure as a boon rather than a detriment, and Itasca has benefited ever since.

All throughout, Itasca Bank has sought to help the community however it could. Of the ways Itasca Bank has helped enhance the community, sponsoring the Shape of Itasca Town Meeting stands as one of the most informative and helpful, a tradition Jack Mensching has overseen for 17 years. Itasca Bank brings together representatives from the Village’s various taxing bodies together before the citizens who may then ask them questions about how the Village will develop. “It’s kind of a town meeting format,” explains Mensching, “where the audience will write questions and then ask any of them to the five representatives of the taxing bodies that are up there, and I acted as moderator for all of those events.”

Each spring, around 200 to 300 people meet up for the Shape of Itasca meeting, and so long as interest in the community continues, it will likely remain an annual event.

Itasca Bank also helped the community in raising funds for the Franzen Play-for-All Park attached to Franzen Middle School. The Park District managed to offer $125,000 toward the project, and the school district another $100,000. As for Itasca Bank, it managed to raise $104,000 from within the community toward the handicap-accessible park, and a grant through the state of Illinois matched the funds raised by the community for a grand total of $660,000 that went toward the park—one everyone has had the opportunity to enjoy since 2007.

Those at Itasca Bank provide all the above and more from a locally owned business that has remained a pillar of the community. Operating out of the same location for years, having moved only just two blocks in its history, Itasca Bank offers all the same services a chain can, but with care and attention that only a local organization can provide. For years, Itasca Bank has served the Village in as many ways as it can, and judging by how the community recognizes the enrichment Itasca Bank gives it, the bank will continue to do so for many years to come.

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