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The Exchange National Bank of Alva opened a bank in Waynoka on August 18, 1902. J.A. Stine, G.E. Nickel, and W.H. Olmsted served as directors and Reid W. Waidley was named the cashier. Waidley had worked for the bank in Alva for five years, starting as office boy, and displaying hard work and diligence, he was quickly promoted. The bank in Waynoka was named the Waynoka State Bank. On March 30, 1910, the Waynoka bank was changed to The First National Bank. It was located in a new building—built in 1910– on the corner of Main and Cecil Streets. In 1928, the Bank Directors were: F.M. Thorne, E.W. Bixler, G.W. Barnett, O.L. Bane, and H.E. Hobbs with total deposits of $203,734.82. Reid Waidley continued working in the newly named bank until his retirement. As a citizen and businessman, Reid had an excellent reputation in business circles of northwest Oklahoma. In 1905, he was sworn in and served as Waynoka’s Town Treasurer.
It appears that Waynoka supported two banks for a number of years until the Bank Holiday during the Great Depression. On March 6 to March 10, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt closed all banks to keep depositors from bankrupting the banking system by withdrawing all their money. After the Bank Holiday, the First National Bank failed to reopen, but the Commercial Bank did reopen.
A second old Commercial Bank statement dated December 3l, 1936 shows A.C. Lambe, Cashier of the Commercial Bank with total assets of $219,218.72. By 1938, A.C. Lambe was the Chairman of the bank when he decided to retire from banking and pursue private enterprises. He moved to Claremore, Oklahoma and assumed management of the Claremore Community Creamery.
Cortez Edison “Cort” (as he was often called) Washburn, a banker and mercantile store owner in Quinlan, Oklahoma, bought controlling interest in the Commercial Bank of Waynoka on March 23, 1938. It had been just a week earlier that the Quinlan State Bank and Post Office had been destroyed by fire. The bank was able to continue doing business as usual in the Washburn Mercantile Store The day after the fire, Frank M Thorne, a life-long friend of Cort’s, called and persuaded him to consider purchasing the bank in Waynoka. It was less than a week later that Cort. Washburn had bought control of the Commercial Bank and merged it with the Quinlan bank. At the organizational meeting of the new bank, C.E. Washburn was elected Chairman, Thomas C. Perry was named Vice-President, and Lulu George, Washburn’s daughter and Cashier of the Quinlan bank, became the Cashier.
At the sudden death of C.E. Washburn on January 19, 1953, Lester Wesley Washburn, the eldest son of Cort and Eva Washburn, was named Chairman. At that time, the Commercial Bank was still operating in the same location at Cecil and Missouri Streets. In 1954, Forrest George began working in the bank as cashier. Then in 1959, Forrest and Lulu George purchased controlling bank stock and the bank was rechartered as the First State Bank of Waynoka. Thomas C. Perry remained as the Vice-President. Michael “Mick” George, younger son of Forrest and Lulu, became associated with the bank in 1973. He is currently serving as President and Chairman of the Board. On December 31, 1979, the bank statement for the First State Bank reported resources of $7,836,164.67.
In 1980, a new and more spacious bank building was constructed a block south of the old bank building. This allowed the bank to move forward into the 21st century with modern technology and banking practices, i.e., computers, check imaging, an ATM machine, debit cards, sorting machines, drive up windows, night depositories, surveillance cameras, etc. The First State Bank held an Open House on December 7, 1980. When the bank moved into the new building, its total assets were $9,198,000. At the time of the Open House, the Bank Directors were: Forrest George, Chairman; Orville Walker, President; Michael George, Vice-President and Cashier; T.E. Buckland, Wayne Bouma, and Miles S. Olson, The bookkeepers and tellers were: Lynetta Gamble, Wilma Guthrie, Donna Herbst, and Ardith Pierce.
Presently in 2014, the First State Bank remains in the building at Santa Fe and Missouri Streets. Not much has changed, except for different faces in the offices and behind the tellers’ windows. The officers and Board of Directors are: Michael “Mick” George, President; Duane Shanks, Vice-President; Richard “Rick” George, Jerry Nickelson, Stan Bixler, and Carolyn “Vicki” Stewart. The employees include: Patricia Warren, Brenda Shanks, Machelle Zook, April Scioli and Myka Seiger. The bank’s assets have steadily continued to grow. The list of bank services provided is long and includes all of the typical banking services. With the onset of technology, computers, and online banking, the bank transactions are conducted faster, more accurate and the services expanded, but some things have remained the same. Service, confidentiality, security, and courtesy still remain a priority. Customers are still greeted by their first names.
Submitted by Vicki Stewart, granddaughter of C.E. Washburn, with assistance from Mick George, President of the First State Bank, and Sandie Olson, President of the Waynoka Historical Society.