|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
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Trinity Standard -
Local bank celebrates 100 years TRINITY – Opened in September 1911 in the aftermath of a devastating community fire, the First National Bank of Trinity will celebrate its first 100 years of service with an open house on Friday, Sept. 9. The “come and go” event will be held from 9-11 a.m. in the bank with refreshments being served. Dignitaries including U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) have been invited along with officials from both the city and county. According to Bank President Butch Gibson, bank officials and personnel wish to say thank you to the community for their support. “The First National Bank of Trinity marks 100 years of being the ‘people’s bank’ in September 2011,” he noted. “Throughout these 100 years, the First National Bank has put customers first. “When a group of Trinity businessmen began to organize a new bank in 1911, they said, ‘Trinity was in need of a financial institution of the character proposed, to carry on the business of banking.” Gibson noted the Trinity community was born in 1872 when the Houston and Great Northern Railroad – now Missouri Pacific RR – was built through the areas. Settlers found themselves in beautiful virgin forests of tall yellow pines. The Trinity State Bank was organized in 1905 during another boom period. That year the Beaumont and Great Northern Railroad had been laid out through the area. That bank was lost – along with much of the town – during a major fire in 1909 and was not rebuilt. In 1911 as the town continued to rebuild after the fire, local business leaders felt a need for another bank and organized the Trinity National Bank, which opened in September of that year in rented space in the Gibson Hotel, which was located at the corner of Railroad and Main streets. That same year, the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity and Sabine (WBT&S) railroad came through Trinity to serve a new sawmill opened by the Thompson Brothers Lumber Co. The bank moved into its first new building on Main Street in February 1912 and in March 1933 reorganized as the First National Bank. In April 1947, First National Bank acquired the assets of Trinity State Bank, which had been re-chartered during the 1930s, and moved into new quarters on North Robb Street. First National moved to its present location at the corner of Madison and Robb streets in June 1967, and in April 2008 opened the Riverside Bank branch. When the bank opened back in 1911, bank officers made loans based on the character of those seeking help and did not rely on credit reports. Gibson said they simply listened to what the customers told them and tried to loan them a reasonable amount so businesses could grow, farmers could make crops and individuals could take care of their own and family obligations. “The bank officers made loans from their knowledge of people who were their neighbors,” he said. On July 8, 1926, the bank ran the following ad in the Trinity Tribune newspaper: “GUARD YOUR MONEY BY SAVING IT “We do not mean that it is necessary for you to have us act as policemen. But put your money in this strong bank for safekeeping. The $$$$ hoarded in the old sugar bowl, tin can or other receptacle of the kind is an unsafe risk. Even a steel safe is not to be depended on nowadays. When Yeggmen go after your savings, they generally know only too well how to get on the inside of your safe, and sometimes carry off safe and all. It is safest to let the bank assume the responsibility and take the risk. They are better prepared to do that than you are. Besides, they carry burglar insurance. The Trinity National Bank The People’s Bank since 1911 Capital and Surplus, $62,000” ---- During those early years, local farmers depended on cotton more than any other crop and a substantial amount of the bank’s business involved loans in support for farming efforts. Farmers and bankers alike had to reckon on bad weather with too much or too little rainfall. After selling their cotton, farmers went to the bank or to merchants who had supplied them with credit to settle up. However, in years of low yields or poor prices, the money paid to farmers would not always cover their costs. Gibson noted that cotton was a crop with many risks and the Trinity National Bank sought to accommodate farmers who faced a crop loss due to the weather. In addition to agriculture, the bank support local businesses, cattlemen, home construction, medical facilities and public schools. While the current federal regulations have changed the way banking and loans and handled, Gibson said bank officials still work to meet the needs of their customers. Government policies now require banks to review the financial history of those seeking loans, but Gibson noted this is mandated to maker sure that people who receive loans can repay them. This ensures that the bank is able to continue to serve the people of Trinity. Among the services offered by the bank are educational programs about money managements and personal finances. As part of the effort, the bank offers cash bonuses to local students for top grades, which can be paid into savings accounts opened by the students. Gibson also noted that the bank supports youth athletic programs; the after-school services for the Boys and Girls Club of Trinity; and the Trinity Community Fair Association through the purchase of youth livestock exhibits. The bank also continues to closely work with members of the business community, cattlemen and farmers, construction contractors, the local medical community and the City of Trinity. “The bank and the Trinity community have been closely linked through this century from 1911 through 2011,” Gibson said. “The bank has safeguarded the deposits of Trinity citizens, held their earning, retirement trust accounts, money market accounts, income and other sources of income, paid their checks for goods and services, supported the community schools, taught habits of savings to school children, helped businesses grow, held fund for city water services, the volunteer fire department, churches and the medical community. “The First National Bank is confident of our ability to continue this same high quality of service moving into the next century to people in Trinity,” he added.