The Farmers State Bank (FSB) opened in 1921, this year marking its 100th anniversary.
Due to the pandemic, the bank decided to refrain from a big party and instead made four donations of approximately $ 25,000 to neighboring causes chosen by employees.
Causes included: Clear Lake Wellness Center, Mason City Pool / Field, Joice Community Center, and Northwood Viking Activity Center. Donations in all of these buildings will be used for expenses of their choice such as equipment, furniture and programs.
Throughout its 100 years of service, the bank has gone through many changes. The Grafton location opened as part of the current family operation in 1987. Since then, seven more locations have opened between Mason City, Grafton, Joice, Northwood, Clear Lake, Ventura and St. Ansgar.
Chairman of the board, Rich Halverson, identified another significant change in the bank throughout his tenure: technology. From manual loan processing to direct deposit to online banking, the bank has seen it all in its lifetime.
According to Rich, one of the bank’s most significant accomplishments was surviving the Great Depression. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, approximately 9,000 banks closed between 1930 and 1933.
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He identified another major achievement as the diverse network they’ve built in northern Iowa and the loyal customers they’ve gained.
“The two main ingredients of a bank are its customers and its staff,” Rich said. “I think we’re lucky; we have both… If you build a reputation for taking care of people, your business grows.
“I think we’ve always said that our customers are not a number, but a name,” said CEO Nate Halverson. “If you walk in, you will basically be called by your name. “
Having maintained 100 years of service in an ever changing industry, FSB looks forward to growing with the changes.
“We’ve seen some major mergers and consolidations in the banking industry since I’ve been with him, but over the past 10 to 12 years it’s really increased,” Rich said. “My theory is that we have to grow and develop to survive and be a full-fledged bank if we are to be a community bank in 10 to 15 years.”