Bank History

 

The Home Bank of Blair was organized by H.C. Hjerlied of Decorah, Iowa, then Cashier of the National Bank of Decorah. It opened for business on the 7th of October 1899, as a private bank, with capital of $5,000.00 and continued as a private bank until 1903. H.C. Hjerlied was President and O.B. Borsheim was Cashier. On the 20th of March, 1903, the Home Bank of Blair was incorporated as a State Bank. The Bankís capital had increased to $30,000.00. Omer Immell purchased the first draft payable to the Royal Tailors of Chicago, Illinois. The first deposit was made by the Halverson-Hanson Company. They were also the first loan customer.

December 11, 1914 marked the first stockholders meeting of the First National Bank of Blair. John Skelton Williams, Controller of the Currency, authorized the First National Bank to commence business as of December 16, 1914. At its first annual meeting, John Thompson was elected President with E.A. Peterson, Cashier. After the formation of this Bank, the community of Blair, with a population of 700, now had two banks.

A proposal to merge the Home Bank of Blair and the First National Bank of Blair was proposed on January 13, 1930. This proposal, however, failed to be ratified. The Home Bank of Blair was turned over to the Banking Department for reorganization on May 27, 1930. In December 1930, a special meeting of the stockholders was held. New officers were elected for the reorganized Home Bank of Blair. They were: S.P. Ibach, President; H.E. Stumpf, Vice President; and D.E. Bersing, Cashier.

An agreement to merge the Home Bank of Blair and the First National Bank of Blair was adopted by an appointed merger committee of each bank. The stockholders of each bank approved the consolidation of each bank. At the February 24, 1932 Annual Stockholders meeting the Articles of Incorporation were amended and the names of the Home Bank of Blair and the First National Bank of Blair were changed to the Union Bank of Blair. The newly formed Board of Directors elected Thomas Mattison, President; C.J. Gibson, Vice President; William H. Melby, Cashier; D.E. Bersing and Robert H. Gilfillan as Assistant Cashiers. The Union Bank of Blair opened for business on Monday, February 29, 1932 in the former First National Bank of Blair building. The building is currently the office of Attorney Alan Robertson.

The financial conditions of the Nation were becoming more depressed daily. The Union Bank of Blair experienced difficult times after the merger. Eventually financial conditions throughout the nation became such that all banks were closed by the President of the United States. Following the banking moratorium by President Roosevelt in 1933 the bank was reopened. It was necessary to increase the capital stock by $25,000.00. Since then the bank has continued to grow steadily.

Plans for construction of a new building were approved by the Board of Directors on February 4, 1965. The Board of Directors consisted of Francis W. Herreid, Victor A. Thompson, Ed B. Gunderson, Clint B. Immell, Jerome Mattison, O.I. Slette and Ray Solberg. March 1966 found the Union Bank of Blair located in its new quarters with F.W. Herried as President; V.A. Thompson as Vice President; Howard R. Turk as Cashier; Carl L. Lokker Jr., Doreen Myrland and Gladys Hanson as Assistant Cashiers. The Union Bank had grown to approximately $5,000,000.00 in assets at this time.

In 1982 an addition was built on the bank that increased its size by 50%. The teller counter was moved to the new addition and the old building was remodeled for added office space and a more spacious lobby. Also, the front lobby had the Countyís first automated teller machine (ATM). A walk up teller window was also added during the construction. Directors at that time were Carl M. Axness, Roger A. Erickson, James G. Frederixon, Jerome Mattison, Ray Solberg and Howard R. Turk. In 1990 the first female Director, Jeanette K. Turk, was elected to the Board of Directors. Howard R. Turk, who had been with the bank since 1963, retired as President in March of 1996 at which time he and Jeanette sold their interest in the Bank to Carl M. Axness and Dennis J. Stephenson.

In 2000, the Union Bank of Blair had grown to approximately 42 million in assets. The Board of Directors at this time consisted of Howard R. Turk; Dr. Paul Dettloff; Susan A. Nyen, Vice President and Cashier; Dennis J. Stephenson, Executive Vice President; and Carl M. Axness, President.

In 2003, remodeling was underway as the Union Bank of Blair expanded it's drive-up facility with the addition of a second drive-up lane. At the same time, an additional parking lot was completed where the former Countryside Lefse building had been. The Union Bank of Blair has grown to 57 million in assets.

In 2004, the Union Bank of Blair expanded their full line insurance agency and relocated that to the former Mattison Dairy Bar building next to the Bank. Steve Casey was added as the Agent to manage this facility and Janette Williams was hired as an assistant.

In 2007, the Union Bank of Blair built a 16x52 addition on the south side of the Bank. The addition consists of four additional Loan offices.

Currently, Officers and Employees of the Bank are: Carl M Axness, Chairman; Dennis J Stephenson, President; Susan A Nyen, Executive Vice President/Cashier; Andrew Semb, Assistant Vice President/Loan Officer; Molly Matejka, Loren Rausch and Robert Sendelbach, Loan Officers; Linda Gardner, Assistant Cashier; Amy Brown and Jessica Lien, Customer Service Representatives; Lisa Janzen, Bookkeeping Supervisor; Daisy Aguilar, Bookkeeper and Sue Stenberg, Kay Campbell, Nate Anderegg, and Joe Fitzpatrick Tellers. In 2008, Mark Frederixon and Dave Pientok have been added to the Board of Directors and Howard R Turk has retired.

 

 

 

 


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