Licking County News

Pataskala will stay with Park National for banking services

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Pataskala City Council agreed Dec. 2 to contract with Park National Bank for banking services instead of Finance Director James Nicholson's recommendation of Chase Bank.

Park National will provide checking accounts for the city departments with online access, overnight investing, credit-card services, purchasing cards for the city to use and a check verification system to ensure valid checks are deposited into city accounts, Nicholson said.

City Council on Nov. 19 had asked for more information on Nicholson's recommendation to change banks and sent the resolution back to the finance committee.

Nicholson told the finance committee Dec. 2 he requested proposals from banks earlier this year because the contract with Park National expires Dec. 31.

He said he ranked each bank's response based on their qualifications and ability to provide service to the growing city of Pataskala. He included technological capabilities, bank fees and check processing in the scoring and gave Chase the highest score over Park National Bank and U.S. Bank.

Council President Dan Hayes, who serves on the finance committee, said he preferred to stay with a local bank simply because of its customer service.

He said he has no affiliation with Park National Bank but said city officials have formed a relationship with the bank and can access its employees. He questioned Chase and its corporate mentality, saying the city may not be dealing with the same individuals at Chase in two years.

Councilman Bryan Lenzo, who also sits on the finance committee, said he understands Nicholson's need for better technology than Park National can provide and said perhaps the city should consider a contract with U.S. Bank, which had the best technology, according to Nicholson's scoring.

Lenzo asked if Park National could upgrade its systems to accommodate the city.

Nicholson said he has talked to Park National Bank representatives about upgrading and providing different technology and systems that could ease some of the burden on city employees. He said at least one request made this year to have Park National run a report a different way was not well received.

Lenzo said if Park National Bank was willing to upgrade its technology in the next few years, he would be willing to vote for them.

The committee gave its recommendation to City Council during the meeting and City Council members voted 6-0, with Merissa McKinstry absent, in favor of contracting with Park National Bank for the next five years.

The resolution had to be amended to change the banking agency name to Park National and to change the person authorized to sign the contract. Law Director Rufus Hurst said the city administrator must sign the contract, not the finance director.

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