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CITIZENS BANK OF LAS CRUCES

Businessman Grey Handy has had a ‘continuous’ relationship with Citizens Bank for 50 years

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Grey Handy has had a personal and professional relationship with Citizens Bank of Las Cruces literally since day one.

At age 11, Handy went with his father, Wes, to the bank during its April 6, 1970 grand opening in the historic Amador Hotel as the elder Handy opened a commercial account for Little Playmates Childcare and Development.

That same day, the younger Handy opened a savings account. He has had “a continuous banking relationship with Citizens Bank” ever since.

The family companies owned and operated by Grey Handy include: Aristocrat Assisted Living; Mountain Shadows Home Care; and Little Playmates Child Development Centers, as well as various real estate interests.

The companies have some 750 to 800 employees working in Las Cruces and throughout southern New Mexico.

“It’s been interesting to watch the bank evolve,” Handy said. “It’s evolved into a strong regional presence.”

Citizens Bank offers the same services as larger banks, including its ability to handle big loans and deposits, he said, but it is “still a community bank.”

“The value of personal relationships cannot be overstated in my view,” Handy said. “They know real estate. They know the market. They know your employees.  You don’t get that kind of thing with larger banks.”

The companies’ employees can go into Citizens and get their paychecks cashed or get help with a banking issue and “be treated as well as more substantial commercial customers,” Handy said.

The founders knew there needed to be “a local bank,” he said, and “the founding vision of the bank hasn’t changed.”

Grey Handy was born in Port Angeles, Washington, in 1959. He moved with his family to Las Cruces in the mid-1960s when his father became a professor at New Mexico State University. He now lives in Santa Fe and travels regularly to Las Cruces.