Marion Bank Lets Tellers Carry Guns

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By Evie Allen
By Benjy Jeffords

MARION -- A bank in Marion is taking extra measures to protect customers and employees. Employees at South Porte Bank are armed in case of an intruder.

South Porte Bank in Marion has been on Court Street since 2012. It's never been robbed and CEO and president Travis Clem hopes to keep it that way. 

"I hope it never happens. I hope there's never a story on us having to use a firearm in this bank," says Clem.

Since no one can predict the future, Clem wants his employees to feel safe. Once the concealed carry law was passed, the bank took action.

"From the very beginning, to be honest we had some staff in this bank that was armed. We decided to change our strategy to make it a little more public now," he explains.

The bank is currently sitting on very tight surveillance all around the perimeter and inside the bank. And there are signs let intruders know they're packing.

"You can put signs all over this building telling somebody not to rob us and use a gun but that doesn't stop anybody from doing it," says Clem.

Clem says too many armed robberies have taken place recently.

Just next door from the bank, last month a man robbed the Dollar General Store and even pulled out his gun firing a warning shot.

On May 15, a man armed with a knife and gun attempted to rob First National Bank in Cairo.

"A tragic event like that effects people who are in the same industry. It certainly makes you think about what you do when you get here in the mornings," says Clem.

The President and CEO of Legions Bank in Eldorado says one of their branches was robbed back in 2000. His employees are also allowed to be armed. And he makes sure all of his workers are trained for life threatening situations. 

"We take security very serious and we want to protect our customers and employees. And we have ongoing training for our employees all the time," says Kevin Beckemeyer.

Clem says if the time comes, it will be a question of self defense and common sense.

"We're not looking for a gun fight obviously. we do intend to defend ourselves if we need too," says Clem.

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