Since 1884, a Waverly-rooted bank has operated under a national charter.
This fall, the home-grown financial institution that had been First National Bank for 136 out if its 155 years of existence became First Bank.
The bank’s board of directors approved the change early this year, with the name change effective Oct. 7, 2020, after completing an approval process by the Iowa Department of Banking.
Customers and community members can spot the new look and new logo emblazoned on the bank’s buildings at 316 E. Bremer Ave. and 921 W. Bremer in Waverly as well as its other locations in Plainfield, Cedar Falls, Clarion, Eagle Grove and Goldfield. It is also branded in the bank’s website.
CEO Susan Whitson says the charter change, and hence the name change, had been long contemplated by the leadership team.
The state charter, she added, is more fitting with the bank’s mission and identity.
“We do think Iowans understand the Iowa market better,” she said. “The state charter is under the laws of Iowa and Iowa regulators live in Iowa. It just made sense, it allows us to serve our customers better.”
First Bank President Steve Willemssen said the change to a state charter would enable the bank to continue the “strong service standards and high level of customer service.”
“By changing to a state charter, the local perspective and knowledge of our state economy at the Iowa Division of Banking will allow our employees to focus on serving our customers using state and local regulations, which are better suited for our communities’ financial needs,” he said in a press release issued by the bank.
With over 500 local employee shareholders, the bank has seven locations in North Central Iowa, with $602 million in assets.
“We will continue to serve as a true community bank, investing and supporting the communities we serve, and this transition will allow us to do just that even better,” bank officials said in a statement. “We pride ourselves on the strong presence we have within our communities and our commitment to serving them will remain the same. Our mission of Serving our customers first will continue as we turn a new page in our history, and will still be reflected in our name, First Bank.”
Whitson, the CEO, said the adoption of the state charter, and the resulting name change, will further energize the local brand:
“It is helping us to be the best bank we can be,” she said.