WE ARE PROUD OF OUR PAST AND REALLY EXCITED ABOUT OUR FUTURE!
It all started in 1882.
The borough of Belle Plaine was growing. Population was close to 1000 and business was booming! Belle Plaine had clothing stores, a newspaper, three hardware stores, three hotels, two lumber yards, two meat markets, two jewelry stores, five churches, a brewery and twelve – yes 12 – saloons…but no bank. It was a difficult time for farmers, with low crop prices and fairly primitive means of production. Little cash was available, so residents relied on bartering or traveling many miles to find a bank in a neighboring town.
The Birth of our Bank.
Originally called the “Bank of Belle Plaine”, our doors opened on December 11, 1882 to fanfare as “a genuine boon to our town, as well as the entire western portion of Scott County.” We were located at 124 W. Main St. and had $50,000 to lend. Our first President was William H. Weibeler, plus a few local investors. Our first ad announced:
“Prompt attention will be given to all business entrusted to us,
loans will be made on good collateral or approved names,
and interest will be paid on deposits.”
Growth and Prosperity.
Over the years, the Bank continued to prosper. In 1924, Walter Gatz purchased stock in the Bank, and the Gatz family still has stock ownership in the Bank, today. Paul Gatz is the President & CEO of State Bank of Belle Plaine, and his brother, Bill Gatz is Vice President – Consumer Lending. The Bank of Belle Plaine survived The Great Depression, enjoyed post-war expansion, and removed the “bandit barriers” old steel teller cages in 1947, “to permit personal contact between tellers and customers.” We outgrew our space and moved around town several times to larger buildings. In 1964 we moved to our current location at 201 W. Main Street. When the Bank celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1982, it had grown to $31 million in assets, and proudly remained an independent community bank. In 2003, we unveiled our beautiful remodeled and expanded building.
A lot has changed and yet, a lot remains the same.
Sure, banking is very different today than it was when we opened the doors in 1882, but many things haven’t changed. Our commitment to our customers and the community is just as strong today as it was in 1882. We proudly support farmers and the Ag community. We work with businesses and residents to help them gain greater financial security, buy homes, start businesses, and find solutions to their financial needs, and we support local non-profits as they strive to make a difference in the community. “It’s all about relationships.” – Paul Gatz, President & CEO. “We aren’t a giant bank where you are just a number, commented Paul Gatz. “We are your hometown bank, right here on Main Street, giving you the personalized service you deserve and the financial expertise you need. As a family-owned Bank, our core values have guided us…since 1882…and are just as important today as they were when we opened the doors. We’re large enough to serve your needs and small enough to truly care.”