Local bank celebrating 125 years of operation

The First State Bank Minnesota staff at the Spring Valley branch gather in the lobby. In front, are Ann Keim, left, and Steve Hadoff. In back, from left, are Dawn Merkel, Juanita Gilbert, Renae Lange, Jan Hammon and Judy Shorter. AXEL GUMBEL/MOWER COUNTY INDEPENDENT
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First State Bank Minnesota’s looking spiffy at 125. 

“Celebrating our 125th anniversary gives us an opportunity to thank our customers for their loyalty.  We will be celebrating with an appreciation dinner on Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Five Wynds Event Center,” said Spring Valley branch loan officer Jan Hammon about First State Bank (FSB) Minnesota’s upcoming anniversary festivities to mark the institution’s century and a quarter of existence. 

In 1893, a group of local businessmen took over a private bank and incorporated it as the First State Bank of LeRoy.  At the time, the bank operated out of a general store in town. 

Wentworth Hayes served as the first president, and M.T. Dunn was the first cashier.  Main stockholders and originators of First State Bank included A.J. Hayes, F.T. Young, John Frank, M.T. Dunn, W.K. Porter and Sam Martz. The list of presidents of the bank includes Wentworth Hayes, John Frank, W.K. Porter, F.T. Young, Hagbarth Hawkins, Grant Hawkins, Douglas VanDyke, Gerald Payne, Polly Glynn and Steven Hadoff, who serves in that role currently. 

The LeRoy bank building was built in 1914 at a cost of $13,000 and is still the site of the bank today.  Designed by Purcell and Elmslie, students of Louis Sullivan, the bank was the third institution designed by the firm.  The interior of the bank underwent renovations in 1986 and was refurbished in the period of its original construction.  The next renovation occurred in 1993.  The building to the west was purchased and the two buildings became the bank building in use today. In 1996, the LeRoy building was added to the National Registry of Historic Places.   

Also, in 1993, a new branch office was opened in Spring Valley. Then in 2002, the current Spring Valley bank building was built. 

The bank officially became First State Bank Minnesota in July of 2004.  First State Bank currently has 16 employees between its two locations.  The president is Steve Hadoff and the vice president is Ann Keim.    

“The Spring Valley branch of First State Bank Minnesota opened to meet the growing needs of an agricultural community.  It began with three employees.  The emphasis then was the same as it is now — quality customer service.  Our customers are our number one priority,” said Hammon.

“We are a community bank that is locally owned and operated,” she added. “Large banks may have many branches, but community banks have put down roots.  We consider our customers as our friends, neighbors and family.  We are a full-service bank that strives to meet all the needs of our local businesses and community members.” 

That includes even the smallest community members as the staff put a little lending library by the front door as a gift to the community in celebrating the anniversary.  The bank plans to stock it with financial books for ages preschool on up. 

“The community is welcome to read a book and/or leave a book,” said Hammon. “We have had it up for about a month now, and it has been fun to see which books have been chosen and the books that have been added.” 

She encouraged customers small to tall to stop by FSB’s branches to meet the staff, to join them for the upcoming celebration and to log onto its website at www.fsbminnesota.com for more information.