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Through The Years

History of First Central State Bank

1965 | First application for a bank charter

1967 | Approved state charter

               First Central State Bank opens doors June 12, 1967 in DeWitt, Iowa

1970 | First motor bank facility opens (Drive-thru banking)

1972 | Al Tubbs joins Ohnward Bancshares

Ohnward Bancshares purchases FCSB

1998 | Ohnward acquired Gateway State Bank

2000 | Brig and Abe Tubbs assumed the duties of managing officers of First Central

2002 | LeClaire location opens

2002 | Eldridge location opens

2018 | Merger with Gateway State Bank


Two years before opening its doors in 1967, First Central State Bank was simply an idea. Five men came together in 1965 and applied for a state bank charter after determining the need for a second bank in DeWitt.

They were Jack Crowley, a former banker; Ted George, owner of Mississippi Engineering; Elmer Ellingsen, manager of Iowa Electric, DeWitt; Rex Peters, owner of Peters Real Estate and Insurance; and Everett Rogers, a Welton farmer.

The group applied to State Superintendent of Banking, John Chrystal, for a state charter capitalized at $250,000. The other financial institutions in this area suggested DeWitt did not need another bank. Therefore, the charter was denied.

Jack Crowley continued to pursue the application for a National Bank charter through the Regional Comptroller of Currency, but the application again was turned down. Determined, the group flew to Kansas City to meet personally with the Regional Comptroller. At this meeting, he advised them to try to obtain three or four additional investors to join the group and re-apply for a state bank charter capitalized at $500,000. Peter McGinn, a local farmer; Dr. Frank Benson, a local dentist; and Andrew Hartmann, another local farmer, were contacted and invited to join the group.

After growing their initial team, the State Superintendent of Banking was re-contacted for a State Charter at the $500,000 capital level. They were informed that three conditions would need to be met before the state charter could be issued:
1. Name of the bank
2. Location of bank facility
3. A State approved Executive Manager

Doyle Butts, of Des Moines, Iowa, was selected to manage the bank. The group then purchased a facility at the bank's present location and selected the name, First Central State Bank. With these conditions being met, the state charter was issued.

First Central's doors opened for business on June 12, 1967, at 914 6th Avenue in DeWitt.

Ted George served as President, and Doyle Butts, Executive Vice President. The original Board of Directors was:  Dr. Benson, Doyle Butts, Elmer Ellingsen, Ted George, Andrew Hartmann, Peter McGinn, Rex Peters, and Everett Rogers. The bank's first employees were Jon Billhorn, Cashier; Donna Lacey, Wilma Schellhase, and Judy Birney.

It was agreed, the directors would own 52% of the stock, with each director owning the same percentage of shares and the other 48% to be sold to area individuals at $100 per share. The directors felt a definite need for First Central to be a community owned bank. In 1970, the directors decided to acquire additional property to build a motor bank facility. On August 13, 1970, the new motor bank opened for business at 915 6th Avenue, directly across the street from the main bank.

In September 1972, the board members met with Ed Tubbs and John Fagerland to discuss the possibility of them becoming involved in the management of First Central State Bank. Although John and Ed wanted to help, they felt it was important to become involved in the ownership of the bank before making a substantial investment of time and effort. At that time, First Central's total assets were slightly over $4 million dollars.

In contemplation of acquiring majority ownership, Ed and John asked Al, Ed's son, to consider moving back to the area to manage the bank. At the time, Al was a professor at Oklahoma State University, having received his doctorate degree from Cornell University, New York. On October 3, 1972, Ed, John, and Al acquired slightly over 50% of bank stock and reorganized the board to formally join the organization. Since First Central only had one loan officer, Ed and John alternated trips between First Central and Maquoketa to help wait on loan customers. When the transition was complete, the next several months were spent obtaining permission from the Federal Reserve to make First Central a part of the Ohnward Bancshares, Inc. holding company.

In November of 1991, First Central opened a Loan Production Office in Eldridge, Iowa and by May of 1992, made application to the State Department of Banking to open a full-service office in Long Grove. At that time, 15% of First Central's total loan portfolio was from Scott County. First Central received approval from the State Department of Banking and opened the facility directly north of the Post Office on February 22, 1993. The branch office was very well received by residents.

It was the fall of 2000 when Brig and Abe Tubbs assumed the duties of managing officers of First Central, sharing the title of President, Brig being President and CEO and Abe being President and CFO. Brig continued to share time and management responsibilities with Gateway State Bank and Abe at Tri County Bank & Trust.

On April 16, 2002, First Central opened a full-service branch in LeClaire. Thereafter, First Central continued its geographic expansion by opening a new in the community of Eldridge. This office opened on December 15, 2003.

Gateway State Bank, which was purchased by Ohnward Bancshares in 1998, with bank assets of $19 million, thrived as an independent brand until it merged with First Central State Bank in 2019. This brand has established a reputation as a professional and relationship-oriented financial player within the rural and metro Clinton market. Brig continues to oversee the management of the Clinton market while serving as CEO of First Central as well as serving as Chief Credit Officer for the holding company.


Ohnward Bancshares, Inc.

Today Ohnward is a billion-dollar plus holding company with 18 financial offices in Eastern Iowa including Maquoketa State Bank with offices in Maquoketa, Andrew, and Preston; Ohnward Bank & Trust with offices in Baldwin, Cascade, Monticello, Marion, Central City and Cedar Rapids; First Central State Bank with offices in DeWitt, LeClaire, Clinton, Goose Lake and Eldridge. Trust services are offered through all banking offices under the Ohnward banner, which includes Ohnward Insurance Group, Central Realty, Ohnward Financial Advisor Services, Ohnward Farm Management, Ohnward Tax, Accounting and Business Services, Vosler Investment Group and Ohnward Wealth & Retirement. Ohnward Bancshares, Inc., has assets of $1.4 Billion, capital of $180 Million and employs over 260 full and part time employees. Ohnward is locally owned by shareholders living primarily in Jackson, Clinton, Scott, Jones, and Linn Counties. Bank management’s focus continues to be helping clients and communities grow and prosper. The banks and ancillary businesses have a strong record of community and economic development, and educational and cultural support within the markets they serve.