Bank Haus, a branch of Fairfax State Savings Bank, will open later this year at this Amana Society building on the corner of 220th Trail and Highway 151.


By Dave DeWitte

A new branch of Fairfax State Savings Bank planned for the Amana Colonies aims to reflect the area’s German heritage and tourist appeal with a unique name and offerings.

Bank Haus, to be located at 4304 220th Trail, Amana, will include an independently operated coffee shop, Neuhaus Coffee, and amenities such as cell phone charging stations and Wi-Fi. It will also use a smart power system, with features such as LED lighting.

“We were just looking for the bank of the future – something a little different,” said Patty Lopata, who will manage Bank Haus. She said the coffee shop will provide a more congenial atmosphere for meeting with clients, and could become a venue for community gatherings such as local business roundtables.

The coffee shop is also intended to make the bank more of a magnet for tourists visiting the Amanas, explained Patrick Slater, senior vice president of Fairfax State Savings Bank. He said the coffee shop will probably offer Corvus, Intelligentsia or Green Mountain Coffee Roasters-brand coffees, and feature local art and services in an effort to spotlight the community.

Fairfax State Savings Bank retained OPN Architects to design the roughly 1,500-square-foot space in the Amana Society-owned building, which was originally a pharmacy.

Due to banking regulations, the coffee shop space will be leased to an operator separate from the bank. However, the bank hopes to share some of the employees.

Bank Haus will be going up against just one entrenched competitor in Amana: a branch of U.S. Bank, the regional bank based in Minneapolis and one the largest players in Iowa’s banking market.

Although Fairfax State Savings Bank has ATM kiosks on Highway 151 in Fairfax, at Wild Hogs Saloon at 350 Commercial Drive in Walford and at Menards at 2800 Wiley Blvd. SW in Cedar Rapids, the Amana branch will be the first for the bank. Mr. Slater said the new location is part of a strategy to extend the community bank, with $150 million in assets, into growing southwest Corridor towns such as Tiffin, Oxford and Norway.

Amana native Mike Shoup is a vice president at Fairfax State Savings Bank who will work in lending in at the branch. He says Bank Haus will provide highly individualized service, and bring an approach that appeals to the Amana Colonies’ German heritage.

“German people are always very practical and straightforward, and that’s the kind of service we want to provide,” Mr. Shoup said. “We want to do it in a fashion that’s as simple as possible.”

In addition to a coffee shop, the branch will have more traditional amenities like a drive-through. It will have a staff of four to five, and while primarily branded as Bank Haus, will have a tagline mentioning the Fairfax State Savings Bank affiliation on documents and signs.

The bank’s application for a branch location is awaiting final review by the Iowa Division of Banking, after receiving approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Fairfax State Savings Bank has a 15-year lease with the Amana Society for the location.

The name “Neuhaus Coffee” was borrowed from Mr. Slater’s father, David Neuhaus, president of Fairfax State Savings Bank. He is only the second president in the history of the bank.