Home State opens

WILLMAR -- The new Home State Bank building in Willmar begs a second glance from passersby on U.S. Highway 12 and Lakeland Drive. It's sided with copper and rugged stone. Its second floor isn't quite aligned with the lower level. The unique angle...

WILLMAR -- The new Home State Bank building in Willmar begs a second glance from passersby on U.S. Highway 12 and Lakeland Drive.

It's sided with copper and rugged stone. Its second floor isn't quite aligned with the lower level.

The unique angles and exterior are exactly the sort of look the bank's leaders wanted.

"How about we do something that looks nice, but looks different," said Dion Warne, a bank senior vice president, of the building's design.

The new 13,000-square-foot, two-story bank building, which opened Jan. 17, is a drastic change from the bank's former 4,500-square-foot spot at the end of a strip mall. But its location has changed little -- it's just across the street.


The building was needed to accommodate its growth in the small to medium business and residential sectors, said Dion Warne and his wife and bank president Laura Warne. It also serves as the company's headquarters.

The bank started in Kandiyohi in 1926. Laura Warne's father, Kenneth Behm, bought the bank in 1971 and opened a Willmar branch in 1982. The Highway 12 location made it a convenient stop for Kandiyohi customers who worked in Willmar, and Laura Warne said they wanted to keep the bank on the east side.

The bank also has branches in Cosmos, Litchfield and Hutchinson.

It has been about 13 years since Laura and Dion Warne moved from Minneapolis to the Willmar area, where Laura grew up, and began working at Home State Bank.

Since then, the bank's assets have nearly quadrupled. In 1993, the bank's assets were $28 million, with the Willmar branch making up $4 million of that. At the end of 2005, the bank's total assets were $110 million and Willmar's branch was at $50 million in assets.

"We've had some really nice growth in our business," Dion Warne said.

A new building was first discussed in 2002 at an annual strategic planning session, Laura said. In 2004, they purchased the land kitty-corner from the bank.

KKE Architects Inc. of Minneapolis was selected to design the building. Each bank leader had different ideas of what the building should look like, Dion Warne said.


The architect started the process by asking them about the qualities of a bank, Dion Warne said, and they talked about how it should look to the future, but have an established presence.

The architect came back with the current design and they all agreed they liked it, Dion Warne said.

"It was a neat day that day," he said.

People comment frequently about the angled floors, Dion Warne said. The lower level is parallel with Lakeland Drive to the west, but the upper level is slightly angled to be in line with U.S. Highway 12 to the north. The architect skewed the top floor six degrees so that the building would face both streets, even though Highway 12 isn't parallel with the corner, the Warnes said.

The building's interior is spacious and decorated in warm, deep greens, dark browns and beiges. The seating area in the corner of its lobby has floor to ceiling windows. The bank's history is also featured with a safe from the original Kandiyohi bank on display near the lobby entrance.

The drive-through had been a drawback at its old location because it was next to the sidewalk and couldn't be expanded, Dion Warne said. There are now three lanes instead of two, and a drive-up ATM. There was no ATM in the old bank building, although there are Home State Bank ATMs around town.

The drive-up lanes have cameras so that the teller and customer can see each other. When the teller is not on the screen, the bank can use it to advertise its services, Dion Warne said.

In the lending department, there is a room with windows on three sides for children to play or watch television in while they're parents meet with lenders.


But perhaps one of the biggest changes for the Warnes is that they now see each other at work everyday.

Laura Warne and the operations department moved their offices from the bank's Kandiyohi branch to the new building in Willmar. The couple, who married in 1988 and have two children, have worked in banking since they graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead.

But they haven't worked in the same building since they were in their mid-20s.

"Now we're in the same office again," Dion Warne said.

Home State Bank's lobby hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Its drive-up hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday.

For more information on the bank, visit its Web site at www.hsbofmn . com.

What To Read Next
Get Local