In 1965, 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, applied for a state bank charter after determining the need for a second bank in DeWitt. Shortly after, 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. They purchased a facility at the bank's present location and selected the name, First Central State Bank.
"First Central State Bank's doors opened for business on June 12, 1967, at 914 6th Avenue, with Ted George, 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.
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 their becoming involved in the management of First Central State Bank. On October 3, 1972, Ed Tubbs, John Fagerland, and Al Tubbs acquired slightly over 50% of bank stock and reorganized the board to formally join the organization.
In November of 1991, First Central opened a Loan Production Office in Eldridge, Iowa.
On April 16, 2002, First Central opened a full service branch in LeClaire in the end unit of a new strip mall overlooking the Mississippi River. After taking a year to digest and assimilate the new office, First Central continued its geographic expansion by opening a new office similar to LeClaire, in the community of Eldridge. This office opened on December 15, 2003.
First Central's growth continued on Feb. 4, 2019, when the former Gateway State Bank, already owned by Ohnward Bancshares, merged with First Central State Bank, expanding First Central's locations by three -- two in Clinton and one in Goose Lake.
The history of those locations dates back to 1907, when it was chartered as Goose Lake Savings Bank by Henry Kruse, Adolph Kruse, George Schaefer and G.G. Boothby. In 1936, the bank took over the failed Charlotte bank and began operating it as a branch. Goose Lake Savings Bank was operated by Ollie Walker and later by Bob Wede.
"In 1980, Bob Wede moved the bank charter from Goose Lake to Clinton. Mr. Wede purchased the first floor of the old LaFayette Hotel building for the main bank location."
In 1986, Bob sold the bank to Floyd England. Ohnward Bancshares, Inc. purchased the bank, which at that time was called Gateway State Bank, in 1998. Ohnward invested in faciltiy improvements at each of the bank locations. In 1999, the bank moved from 601 S. Second St. in Clinton to one of its current locations at 1427 N. Second St. On Aug. 25, 2008, another full-service branch facility opened in Clinton at 2600 Lincoln Way.
The branch in Goose Lake remains at 223 Main St. and was remodeled in 2019.
History of Ohnward Bancshares, Inc
Ohnward Bancshares, Inc. was formed in 1967 by John W. Fagerland and Edward L. Tubbs. John and Ed had personally purchased controlling interest in Maquoketa State Bank in 1966. A year later, for tax reasons, they formed a bank holding company and transferred their stock ownership of MSB into the new company.
"They selected the unusual spelling of “Ohnward” by combining the latter portions of each of their first names. Through the years, Ohnward has grown, but it has always maintained its local ownership and operation. The principal shareholders are members of the Tubbs and Fagerland families and participants of the Ohnward Bancshares, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan."
Ohnward Bancshares, Inc., 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, Cedar Rapids, Central City, Marion and Monticello; First Central State Bank with offices in Clinton, DeWitt, Eldridge, Goose Lake and LeClaire. Additional services offered through all banking offices under the Ohnward banner, include 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 $1.2 Billion, capital of $170 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.