History of Citizens Bank of Americus
The Citizens Bank of Americus has a long and rich heritage. Listed below are some of the most noteworthy events and achievements since the Citizens Bank of Americus was incorporated on February 20, 1937:
- On March 25, 1937, the Citizens Bank of Americus opened for business in the building on Lee Street across from the present building. You can still see the words “Citizens Bank of Americus” etched in the finish above the first floor of the building. We became the second bank in operation in Americus.
- The original incorporators of the bank were Mr. T.O. Marshall, Sr., Dr. H.A. Smith, Mr. J.T. Warren, Mr. Lee Hudson, and Mr. S.S. Rountree. The first officers were: T.O. Marshall, Sr. Chairman of the Board; Lee Hudson, President; J.T. Warren, Vice President; J.D. Shepard, Cashier; and J.A. Oxford, Assistant Cashier. On March 17, 1937, three (3) employees of the bank were hired. They were two (2) bookkeepers and a stenographer. These eight (8) officers and employees performed all the operations of the bank. At the end of the first year of business, the Bank’s deposits totaled $65,905.19 and the Bank’s net worth was $60,000.
- As the Bank grew, we added new services. The first night depository was installed in October, 1938. Christmas Club accounts were offered in December, 1941.
- At the end of 1957, we had grown to twenty (20) employees and the Bank’s deposits totaled approximately $3.8 million.
Citizens Bank of Americus was the first bank in Americus to open a drive-in teller window. This new feature in banking was introduced on June 8, 1959.
- In May, 1964 the Bank purchased the lot on which the Main Branch building sits. A “sleek, contemporary” building was constructed to provide improved banking services to our community.
- The Bank’s service in Sumter County was improved when the Plains branch was opened on December 16, 1974.
- Another first was achieved by the Bank in October, 1977 when Citizens Bank of Americus was the first to install two freestanding ATM machines. One was located on Tripp Street and the other on South Lee Street.
- Encouraged by the growth on the east side of Americus, the Bank’s Board decided to construct a branch operation on Tripp Street. This facility opened on March 15, 1981 and presently operates with nine employees.
- On June 30, 1983, CBA Bankshares, Inc., a one-bank holding company was organized. The Board of Directors for CBA Bankshares, Inc. and Citizens Bank of Americus were: S.R. Hunter, Chairman; T. Edwin Tharpe, T.O. Marshall, Jr.; Martha M. Dykes, Evan T. Mathis, Jr.; S.R. Hunter, Jr.; H. Phil Jones, Jr.; and T.D. Warren.
- CBA Bankshares, Inc. was purchased by Bartow Bankshares, Inc. of Cartersville, Georgia on January 3, 1985. Citizens Bank of Americus kept its name and operated as a community bank. The directors elected to serve on the Board of Directors for Citizens Bank of Americus at that time were: Russell Thomas, Jr., Chairman; T. Edwin Tharpe, L. Sam Lott, Jr.; William H. Sheppard, Ben F. Easterlin, IV; Sam C. Smith; and Jefferson L. Davis.
- Citizens Bank of Americus purchased its first bank, the Bank of Webster in Preston, Georgia on May 27, 1986. This facility became known as the Preston Branch of Citizens Bank and operates today as a full service branch with three employees.
B.M.R. (Bank Management Resources) purchased Citizens Bank of Americus on December 30, 1987. Again, we kept our name and operated as a community bank.
- On July 20, 1992 a group of thirteen local investors purchased the bank from B.M.R. They were: Russell Thomas, Jr.; H. Phil Jones, Jr.; Warren Scott; Robert Joseph Hooks, Dr. James G. Herron, James R. Buchanan, Jr.; Ben F. Easterlin, IV; William S. Perry; J. Wade Halstead; George M. Peagler, Jr.; Burton A. Thomas; Dr. Louis A. Riccardi; and John Gill.
- The Board of Directors, wanting to show support for the City of Americus’ involvement in the Main Street Program, voted to renovate the exterior of the Main Branch building with grey stucco and awnings. As a result the Bank was awarded the renovation project of the Year by the Americus Downtown Development Authority.
- Another first occurred, when in July, 1995, Citizens Bank of Americus opened a branch in the Americus Wal-Mart SuperCenter. We were the first bank in Georgia to operate a full-service branch in a Wal-Mart SuperCenter. The concept of this branch is different from all the other branches in that employees can provide both customer service and teller functions to the customers. This branch also operates expanded hours.
- We improved our list of products and services in 1996 with two new products. Our twenty-four (24) hour Bank-Line and the Master Money (Debit) were introduced and received very well by our customers.
- For the first time ever, our assets exceeded $100 million in October 1996.
- During the 1990’s Sheshunoff Information Systems consistently rated Citizens Bank of Americus as an “A” rated bank and in 1997, Sheshunoff recognized Citizens Bank of Americus as one of the highest rated banks in America.
- In July, 1999 Citizens Bank of Americus was rated the #1 Community Bank in Georgia and the 26th Community Bank in the United States of America by the Journal of the American Bankers Association.
- Our sixth branch opened on March 6, 2000 in Leslie, Georgia as a result of another bank’s branch closing in the community. The community requested the Board consider opening the branch there.
- In 2005 the Main Branch started a complete renovation of its existing building. The existing building had been in use for over 40 years. To accommodate the construction, the entire operations of the Main Branch needed to move. The former City of Americus Fire and Police Station Building which was located next to the Main Branch was purchased and renovated for the temporary location of the Main Branch. The renovation took two years to complete and the grand reopening of the Main Branch took place in July, 2007. The Bank’s Operations Center moved into the former Fire Hall Building permanently a few months after this. Both projects are recognized landmarks in downtown Americus and show the Board’s commitment to our Community.
- In July, 2011, we consolidated our Leslie and Plains branches employees with our Main Branch and closed these two locations.
- In July, 2015, we closed our Wal-Mart branch location.
- At this date, Citizens Bank of Americus' assets are at $400 million. We employ around 50 employees who provide service at our three locations. The present Board of Directors include: James R. Buchanan, Jr., Richard A. Whaley, Robert Joseph Hooks, Russell Thomas, Jr., Ben F. Easterlin, IV, William S. Perry, Jr., J. Wade Halstead, George M. Peagler, Jr., Dr. Louis A. Riccardi, Ronnie Greer, Jeff C. Alexander, and Will Easterlin.
Presidents of the Citizens Bank of Americus
- Lee Hudson 1937-1946
- Evan Mathis 1946-1960
- S. R. Hunter, Sr. 1960-1976
- T. Edwin Tharpe 1976-1988
- H. Phil Jones, Jr. 1988-1999
- W. Scott Ivey 2000-2001
- Richard A. Whaley 2001-Present