“It has been said that you cannot truly know yourself without knowing where you came from. Just like our founders, we continue to uphold the time-valued aspect of relationship banking. We believe knowing our customers on a first name basis is just as important as providing unique and innovative products and services. Yes, a lot has changed. But one thing will never change; our customers know us as ‘their bankers’ and ‘their bank’.”
State Bank of Morning Sun, IA was founded by brothers W.A. and Carl Thompson. They both worked as officers, and Will was also the first bank president. Housed in a small room near the front of the Holiday Department Store, customers could browse furniture and china while waiting to do their banking. The original 1800’s style vault, which was made of plaster and bricks with a ¾ inch layered steel door, was used up until 1969. It was complete with daily adjusted time lock and burglar alarm that was prone to misfiring the loud bells outside.
The young M.H. McDonald, grandson of W.A., was hired as a janitor/assistant to replace Rose Thompson, the third member of the three-employee family team. Through lots of hard work, he would continue to climb up the ladder to finally earn the title his grandfather once did - Bank President. He would retire exactly sixty years to the day of his first bank cleaning.
Shaken by the Great Depression, the bank ultimately emerged from the national financial wreckage with great pride and very few scars. State Bank of Morning Sun was then reorganized and chartered as Iowa State Bank.
Iowa State Bank was ready to “expand” - a word that lay dormant in the previous economic struggle. Meanwhile, the local Mount Union State Bank was heavily encouraged to sell after enduring hard times. Iowa State Bank saw the opportunity and the two banks joined by merger.
The Holiday Store closed in the 1930’s, but it was common for bank business to be carried out in the old showrooms. So, they began a remodeling project on the entire building that employees worked through; plaster, dust, construction racket and all.
At this point, Iowa State Bank was busting at the seams. The neighboring building was purchased and an even larger remodeling and expansion project took place. While the new offices were being created, the bank’s business carried on across the street. Every day, workers would wheel the cash, ledgers, files, etc. across the street. Only in Morning Sun, IA could a trusting courier system exist. Part of the leasing agreement was that Frank White, owner of the building, could carry the money across the street on the last day of tenure.
After 82 years of growth, the current building for the Morning Sun branch was built along Highway 78. Finally, the growing bank had enough room. This branch is responsible for all of the data processing and back room operations.
Broadening their territory, a new branch was opened in the river city of Wapello, the county seat for Louisa County. Later, this branch would double in size to accommodate a growing customer base.
The new Mount Union branch was built adjacent to the old building, retaining its Railroad Street address. Friendly faces and all the latest services are just some of the great qualities of hometown banking.
Following a long line of hard working and savvy men, Chris Grimm became the president in 2001. Having previously worked as one of the founders and general managers of Grimm Brothers Plastics, the banking business was new to him. However, this allowed him to provide fresh perspective. Chris continues to ensure a positive future for Iowa State Bank.
A modern and top-of-the-line branch was built in Burlington in 2007, once again expanding Iowa State Bank’s reach of service. This revolutionary building also houses many extras that are reminiscent of a time when class and craftsmanship reigned. You can enjoy a hot cappuccino from the espresso bar while you set up a new account or read the newspaper in our lounge in front of our fireplace.
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