The Best of Finance 2020
Check out our readers' top choices for banks, credit unions, title companies and more
When customers use their Alpine Bank Loyalty Debit Cards, Alpine Bank donates 10 cents to nonprofit organizations in their community. For 2019, those dimes added up to $1,635,120. Alpine Bank is employee-owned and locally operated, and has been a part of Colorado since 1973. With 40 locations statewide, Alpine Bank serves 140,000 customers. “While current times are testing us all, we deeply appreciate this recognition from our customers to whom we owe our success,” said Alpine Bank founder and chairman Bob Young. “We have always been and continue to be all in this together.”
Best Insurance Provider
State Farm provides insurance, and also offers useful information on its website. Last year it reported that U.S. drivers have a one in 116 chance of colliding with an animal, and in Colorado drivers have a one in 186 chance. That’s compared to a one in 175 chance of being audited by the IRS, one in 215 chance of dating a millionaire, and one in 220 chance of writing a New York Times bestseller. In Colorado, State Farm supports Earth Force, a nonprofit focused on educating teachers on how to build environmental community projects with their students.
Best Credit Union
Ent Credit Union was established in 1957 to serve the Ent Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. Ent now has 370,000 member-owners in 12 counties. In 2019 Ent donated $2 million to area nonprofits. The credit union provides Ent Youth Endowment Series (YES) grants to not-for-profit agencies that benefit youth, and not-for-profits in the Pikes Peak, Pueblo and Denver areas can apply for a YES grant. Ent focuses on supporting nonprofits that support child and family health and wellbeing, and higher education, primarily Colorado-based university and community college scholarships.
Best Mortgage Broker
In recent years, Peyton Manning has drawn a lot of attention to American Financing, the family-owned mortgage company founded by Damian and Gabie Maldonado in 2001. American financing is known for its dedicated mortgage consultants, custom loan programs and faster-than-industry average closings. American Financing has grown into a national mortgage banker, from 15 employees in 2001 to 329 employees in 2017.
The company aligns small teams of mortgage consultants and processors to create unity and understanding and provide customers with direct contact with two people, rather than requiring follow-up with multiple contacts.
“The best way to sustain growth and provide the best service is through a strong foundation, strategic leadership and experienced employees,” Damian Maldonado said.
Best Title Company
Empire Title provides sound, basic title services that protect property owners by insuring against defects in titles that have already occurred but have not yet been discovered. The company specializes in solving title problems and maximizing opportunities for transactions to close. The company offers classes such as The Basics of Title Commitment; The Basics of Business Planning and Marketing; The Basics of HUD; and Advanced Foreclosure. It also provides marketing services, including flyers and postcards; labels and lists; and property profile books.
Best Wealth Manager/Financial Planner
Obermeyer Wood Investment Counsel is an independent registered investment adviser and financial planning firm with offices in Aspen and Denver. Like most investment advisers, Obermeyer Wood offers services such as portfolio evaluation, securities selection, plans for future financial events and risk assessment. But Obermeyer Wood is different in that its advisers seek to understand clients’ goals and unique financial picture.
“That way, we can coordinate with your other advisers, such as your CPA and estate attorney, to come up with an investment plan that gives you and your family financial peace of mind well into the future,” the company explains.
Best SBA Lender
Alpine Bank has 40 locations from Durango to Denver, including Front Range branches in Denver’s Union Station, Cherry Creek and Denver Tech Center neighborhoods and Boulder. Alpine Bank serves 140,000 customers with personal, business, wealth management, mortgage and electronic banking services.
Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Alpine Bank devoted the section about SBA loans on its website to keeping businesses informed of available resources such as the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program and how to apply for the program through the bank. The Paycheck Protection Program authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis.