Community’s bank has family feel

Robert Smith
The employees of American Heritage Bank in Barnsdall take pride in serving their community. From left are Shelley Haley; Brenda Hatfield; Karen Overacker, Branch Manager; and Wanda Garrett. Robert Smith/Journal-Capital

BARNSDALL — Barnsdall has one bank, and its staff reflects the town’s plain-spoken, direct friendliness.

“If we don’t know you when you come in, we know you by the time you leave,” says American Heritage Bank branch manager Karen Overacker. She grew up in Barnsdall and has reared her family here.

Before it was American Heritage, it was Osage Federal. Back in the day, it was Barnsdall State Bank. The bank has been at its present location on the town’s main street since 1971. All of the current employees live right in town. Wanda Garrett, a teller who moved to Barnsdall in 1984 and has been working at the bank since 1987, lives just a couple of blocks away.

“She’s the customer favorite here,” Overacker says of Garrett.

They explained that American Heritage has been an excellent fit for Barnsdall — good to the employees and good to the community as a whole. Barnsdall may be small, and the local chemical plant is a mainstay of the economy, but the commercial community is marked by continued investment and innovation at the mom-and-pop business level. When one family gets out of an enterprise, another is likely to get in and give it a try.

The town also has a very active, vibrant Chamber of Commerce.

“Small communities are very much like a family,” Overacker said. “A lot of our customers we get hugs from. It’s a real privilege to be able to serve them. Anytime there’s a need, Barnsdall people are some of the best. They’re givers and they’re doers.”

The American Heritage Bank in Barnsdall is part of the financial institution’s Osage Region, along with bank locations in Pawhuska and Bartlesville. Overacker, who was previously in the flower business, has been with the bank six years, about three or three and a half years as manager. The Barnsdall operation is full-service, helping to meet both personal and business financial needs.

If you pick up the phone and call American Heritage Bank in Barnsdall, you don’t have to worry about getting a direct answer. No automated voices. Real people talking to you.

“If you call us, we answer the phone. People love that, too,” Overacker said. “I’m the first to the phone. I love to deal with people.”