On June 14th, 1910 The First National Bank of Monterey received its charter from the Comptroller of the Currency to establish a national bank in the town of Monterey. The bank opened on August 1st of 1910 with 57 original shareholders and $25,000 in capital. The first board of directors rotated presidents naming PH Wagoner, John Marbaugh and VE Fullmer as CEOs until 1933, when Charlie Keitzer assumed the title in 1934. Charlie Keitzer began work on January 1st 1911 as a clerk, then manager and finally as president. He then served as president until 1954, when Claiborn Wamsley, having hired on in 1950, assumed the title and was president and chairman until 2019. Allen Chesser, beginning at the bank in 1985, is the current serving bank president.
The bank’s original purpose and mission was set by 5 local merchants and 5 local farmers. It was created out of the need to facilitate payments for agricultural grain settlements and provide credit for the local farmers and merchants in Monterey. Prior to 1910, it took about 5 hours by horse and buggy to travel to The First National Bank of Winamac to obtain currency for grain settlements.
The First National Bank of Monterey was located first in a 20×60 foot block building, with oil lamps and a coal/wood fired stove. The initial deposits on opening day totaled $1846.17 and grew to $39,200.67 on 1-1-1911. Steady growth has continued these 110 years with deposits now totaling above $330 million. The bank has enjoyed long relationships with its customers and has continued its focus on the community, its farmers, and businessmen along with the local governmental offices. It has been an agent for the county treasurer, in being privileged to permit customers to pay their property taxes at the bank’s offices since 1910.
The bank has faced challenges in the past with economic difficulty experienced by our nation and its citizens. One such challenge was the stock market crash of 1929, which resulted in numerous bank closures and reorganizations. With the bank holiday set on March 3rd, 1933, First National Bank of Monterey was telegraphed to re-open on 3-15-1933 with no additions to capital or difficulty with the loans it held with the local farmers and business people. Then later on June 16th of 1933 deposit insurance was available, which helped the bank almost double its deposits between 1930 and 1940.
Our company has a rich tradition in supporting agriculture, which is as much a part of our original charter in 1910 as it is today. State rankings in farm lending volume show First National Bank of Monterey ranked 5th in Indiana as a percent of its total loan portfolio. As far back as 1927, in collaboration with Purdue University and the Erie Railroad, it provided breeding livestock from Wisconsin for local dairy farmers and purchased young heifers to improve milk production. This tradition continues today as our staff of agricultural lenders use their skills to provide informed decisions and funding to our ag clients at each of our four offices.