Congrats to our Top Company 2016 winner: CoBank

The bank topped the "Financial" category

This year’s Top Company winners and finalists represent large and small, old and new, high-tech and high-touch businesses and organizations in 11 industry categories. Like Colorado itself, these enterprises have undergone changes, endured tumultuous economic times, and overcome various hurdles to achieve distinction in their respective fields.

To be eligible for Top Company consideration, companies must be based in Colorado or have a significant presence in the state. Deloitte, a longtime program sponsor, selects up to three finalists per industry category from applications submitted online at A panel made up of ColoradoBiz magazine’s editorial board and representatives from the business community then selects the winners based on financial performance or other relevant metric, achievement in one or more operational aspect of their business, and community involvement.

Read on to learn about our 29th annual Top Company Awards "Financial" category winners and finalists.


CoBank is a $118 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. Formed in 1989 through a merger of 11 banks, CoBank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides wholesale loans and other services to affiliated Farm Credit associations in 23 states.

 Bob Engel, CEO of CoBank, says the bank is cooperatively owned, so its interests are aligned with its customers, who are also the owners. “They allow us to manage the bank for the long term. We are willing and able to make investments in people, processes and systems that will help us deliver value and a superior experience to our customers as we fulfill our promises to rural America for generations to come.  It’s a huge advantage when compared to an investor-owned bank where management must focus on quarterly earnings and share price.”

He adds that CoBank will remain focused on providing dependable credit to industries that are the backbone of America’s rural economy. “We will accomplish our goals by investing in and enhancing our sustainable competitive advantage – our people,” he says. “Our goals include continuously demonstrating that we know more and care more about our customers while graciously accepting our responsibilities as a socially responsible corporate citizen and beacon of hope for rural America.”

Earlier this year CoBank announced it renewed its Sharing Success charitable contribution program for 2016. The bank’s board of directors approved a commitment of $3 million for the program, which will be used to match donations by cooperatives and other eligible customers to nonprofits, in their communities.


Bellco Credit Union

Founded in 1936 as the credit union for Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph employees, Bellco Credit Union has since grown into one of Colorado’s largest financial institutions, open directly to individuals and businesses throughout the state. In 2015, Bellco saw 8 percent growth in new members as well as double-digit growth in both loans and deposits. Greenwood Village-based Bellco has more than 260,000 members and $3 billion in assets, and operates 21 branches in the Denver metro area and one in Grand Junction. In 2016, Bellco plans to retrofit current branches with new banking technologies and open new branches.

FirstBank Holding Co.

FirstBank started in 1963 in a 50-foot trailer dubbed the “Check Wagon.” Over the years FirstBank grew to 122 locations in Colorado, Arizona and California, serving 700,000 customers. As of March 31, 2016, FirstBank’s total assets stood at $16 billion, an increase of 6.5 percent compared to last year. FirstBank believes economic prosperity comes from successful small businesses, so the bank features small-business customers on billboards, online ads and its corporate blog.

In 2010, FirstBank and Community First Foundation started Colorado Gives Day, a 24-hour online giving initiative. The bank invested more than $2.5 million to spur nonprofit donations and promote the program, and Colorado Gives Day has raised more than $111 million for nonprofits. FirstBank is adding four locations in Denver and Phoenix by year-end 2016.

Categories: Magazine Articles, Top Companies