History of Our Bank
First National Bank in New Bremen was chartered in 1934 as a national bank.
The new bank began operations with a capital balance of $50,000.00. The following individuals comprised the initial board of directors; F.A. Ende, John C. Halseme, Ferd W. Rabe, A.H. Albert, Edward Hirshfeld, C.V. Huenke, and Walter W. Grothaus. There were a total of seventeen shareholders who were issued shares of the new bank and signed the original organization certificate. It is interesting to note that on November 1, 1934, Harry Komminsk was elected to the board to fill the vacancy caused by the death of C.V. Huenke. The first president of the bank was Walter W. Grothaus. Walter W. Grothaus served as president of the bank until his death on October 28, 1950. Ferd W. Rabe was elected to fill the unexpired term of Walter W. Grothaus and Elwood F. Day was hired to manage the daily affairs of the bank. On January 9, 1951, Harry Komminsk was elected to serve as president of the bank by the then directors. Total capital of the bank had reached almost $190,000.00 and total assets were $2,394,500.00. Harry Komminsk served as president until his death in November of 1959. Elwood F. Day was then elected president by the directors of the bank. Total capital had reached $367,800.00 and assets had grown to $4,284,470.00. Elwood F. Day served until his retirement on January 12, 1971. Total assets had grown to $9,334,376.00 and total capital was $1,295,300.00. At this time James J. Jarvis began running the daily operations of the bank. P.L. Komminsk was then elected president and served only a few months until his death on May 10, 1971. Betty L. Komminsk succeeded her husband as president and served until March 27, 1997. She grew assets to $98,041,000.00 and capital to $13,561,000.00. During her term in office, branches were started in Wapakoneta and Sidney. The Wapakoneta office was opened on October 15, 1992 and the Sidney office on April 26, 1996. During her tenure in office, the bank’s main office was moved to a new location on September 12, 1994. This is the current location of its headquarters. She was also responsible for the acquisition of American Budget Company in 1988, which has since been sold. Betty Komminsk died on August 24, 1998. Dianne Komminsk was elected to replace Betty as president in 1997. She served as president until March 27, 2000 and then continued to serve as Chairperson of the Board until March 27, 2017. During her term in office, she started the Botkins branch and grew assets to $128,480,000.00. William R. Wente took over as president of the bank in 2000 and served as president until May 31, 2020. Over his tenure, the bank instituted a whole host of new products and services as technological advances over the period evolved and redefined how customers utilize the bank. His timely recognition and adoption of these innovations helped fuel the banks growth and in August 28, 2006, he oversaw the opening of a branch in New Knoxville, Ohio. Currently Jerry S. Lehman, Jr. serves as the banks president with the intent of growing First National Bank’s relationship customer base with the relevant and ever-changing technology in the marketplace.
The bank has grown from one office in 1934 to five locations today. The Company started with only $50,000.00 in total capital and it has grown to over $30,000,000.00 in capital and assets of over $310,000,000.00. The bank has seen many changes in its over 80-year-old history, but the most significant has been the change in technology. When the Bank started in 1934, entries were posted by hand with the help of mechanical adding machines. Then in the 1950’s we began using various forms of mechanical bookkeeping machines. In the 1960’s magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) ink technology was adopted nationwide. The 1970’s brought the widespread use of the automatic teller machine (ATM’s) and electronic computers. The personal computer became almost a necessity during the 1980’s and Automatic Clearing House (ACH) transactions became commonplace. This technology allowed for the electronic deposit and withdrawal of funds from customers’ accounts. Although the internet had been around for awhile, it became mainstream in the 1990’s. It is now a requirement to run a business and communicate with our suppliers and customers. Speaking of communications, how can we forget the cell phone? It became a necessity at the end of the 1990’s and the start of 2000. Internet banking became a requirement to do business beginning in the early 2000’s. Financial institutions saw a big change in 2004 when the Check Clearing for the 21stCentury Act became law. Check 21, as it is commonly known, requires banks to accept digital images of checks when they are presented for payment. Checks are now sent electronically for clearing rather than the physical check being presented to the bank for collection. Check imaging and electronic storage of cancelled checks have become commonplace. Mobile banking and remotely depositing of checks became available beginning around 2010 and are now commonplace. Today the digital wallet and contactless technology for credit and debit is changing the way our customers utilize our services. As new technology emerges, we expect many more innovations and changes in the future, which will alter our service to meet the expectations of our customers.
No matter what the changes that occur, our people are committed to our customers and the communities we serve. We are always ready and willing to serve all of our customer’s financial needs.