Sunday night, March 20, 2016, we lost a fellow director, mentor and friend that was the driving force behind the formation of Alliance Bank. David “Pee Wee” Erlbacher passed away unexpectedly and will be greatly missed in the boardroom as well as in the community. In honor of Pee Wee I think we need to always remember the reason that Alliance Bank was formed so that his vision can live on.
Pee Wee’s Vision was to form a bank that was held by a large number of local shareholders and not by a big corporation or a single family. He envisioned a responsive bank where decisions are made by people living in the community that understand the needs of the community.
From our humble beginning over 20 years ago, in a spare office at Meyer Supply, Pee Wee Erlbacher lead our group to raise capital, hire employees, set bank policies and eventually open our doors as a bank on October 23, 1997.
I accompanied Pee Wee on many trips to sell stock when Alliance Bank was not yet Chartered and we had no more than a promise that we would open a bank that would truly serve the needs of our Community. None-the-less, we raised $5,000,000 on that promise because shareholders believed in Pee Wee and his message. He did not let them down.
Raising capital was only the beginning. We had to get deposits and loan out money for the new bank to survive. I will never forget his motto when we opened our mobile facility on Kingshighway; “Just be nice to them, and they will want to do business with us.” Well, that simple philosophy worked so we prospered.
Through all of the ups and downs at the Bank, Pee Wee never lost his enthusiasm and positive outlook. He never stopped believing that the Bank would be successful and fulfill its mission to our Community.
Pee Wee was a great banker, true gentleman and visionary. He leaves a vacant place in the boardroom, in the Community and in my heart.