When Quartzsite had its own bank – in a motorhome!

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Thirty years ago there wasn’t much civilization in today’s Snowbird Capital, Quartzsite, Arizona – no fast food joints, no housing subdivisions, no sprawling gas stations with mini-marts. And there was no bank. About all Quartzsite was back then was a dusty outpost in the desert that was overrun with RVer snowbirds every winter, who squatted for months on end on the surrounding government lands. That hasn’t changed.

Then, in 1987, Desert Sun State Bank came to town.


When Quartzsite had its own bank – in a motorhome!
Photo: Chuck Woodbury

Its branch in nearby Parker was not doing well, so maybe Quartzsite would be more fertile territory. Looking back, you might wonder why the bankers would think that, as there was little commerce there at the time.

Desert Sun State Bank was not willing to pop for the kind of money it would take for a real brick-and-mortar location. So it drove in a motorhome, secured it from would-be robbers and erected a roof overhead to keep away the elements.

It must have been a very nice thing for residents to have their own bank. In the photo above, there’s a line out the door waiting to get in. But that’s understandable: Only one customer at a time was allowed inside.

We don’t know exactly when the RV bank left Quartzsite, but it wasn’t there too long – we know that. And as the years passed, Desert Sun State Bank was acquired by another bank, which was acquired by yet another, its name lost along the way.

If you know more about the motorhome bank, please leave a comment.

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Tom Champagne

Being a manager of an armored car company, years ago, we also had a traveling bank ( special equipt. armored trailer ) that was taken to Providence Rhode Island elderly high rises to allow the elderly to come down and cash their checks without having to leave their safe environment. We even had an armed worker there to be sure they weren’t bothered with. The city paid the company to provide that service. The customers actually entered inside the vehicle where there was a small lobby for them.