By Logan Lawson
Bill Bates has been a familiar face to Neligh residents, particularly when they walk into Pinnacle Bank, since 1980.
Bates, a Gothenburg native, moved to Neligh in May of 1980 when he took the position of assistant vice president of what was then National Bank of Neligh. Bates remained with the bank for many years after, including in 1999 when the bank officially became Pinnacle Bank. In November or 2005, he accepted the position of president of the bank. Now, after nearly 11 years as the head of the downtown Neligh bank, Bates is passings on the reigns as he prepares to enjoy retirement.
Bates is in his final week with Pinnacle Bank as he helps his successor, Andy Elder, adjust to a new town and a new position. As the president, Elder will oversee all aspects of the bank.
“Banking is a lot of little jobs that need to be done with accuracy,” Bates explained.
Elder, who is originally from Paxton, feels confident he can get the job done.
“I adapt pretty well and my customer service is strong,” Elder admitted.
Bates and Elder have been working together to introduce Elder to Neligh residents and bank customers alike. Elder has noted a similarity with all the people he has met.
“Friendly. Everybody Bill has introduced me to has been like ‘Welcome to Neligh,’” he said.
Elder started with Pinnacle Bank in 2004 as a teller after graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He worked his way up through the company, moving to Omaha and then Wisner, and soon became vice president of Pinnacle Bank in Wisner. When he was offered the chance to fill Bates’s position in a small town like Neligh, Elder jumped at the chance.
“I had heard Neligh was a pretty progressive town that has a lot going for them,” he said.
With a two and a half year old daughter and another child due in February, staying in a small town was important for Elder and his wife.
He takes over for Bates, who has spent his time in Neligh on various boards, at the golf course and helping to guide and grow Pinnacle Bank. A numbers guy, Bates enjoyed working in a bank and enjoyed helping customers become successful.
Now that he is retiring, Bates plans to take some time for himself. He intends to do some traveling and working on his golf game. He is also looking forward to the chance to begin reading more often, something that occasionally was a challenge while he has been busy at the bank.
Bates is confident that people will enjoy meeting Elder and that he will do well as the new president.
“He’ll do a great job,” Bates said. “I suggest everybody come in to meet him.”
Residents that are interested in meeting Elder or giving Bates their well wishes are invited to attend an open house Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
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