A little piece of Heaven-er.
Read on to find out how two banks became First National Bank, our little piece of heaven in Heavener, OK:
- Farmer and Merchants Bank opened in Heavener in 1905.
- O.J.M. Brewer opened the Bank of Heavener in the Brewer Building on November 1, 1909.
- On September 15, 1910, the directors of the Bank of Heavener applied for a national charter. That application was approved, and on November 23, 1910, the Bank of Heavener became the First National Bank of Heavener.
- That same year, FNB constructed a new bank building at the corner of East Avenue C and East First Street. The year of construction was memorialized on the crest of the building, as shown in the picture at the top of this page.
- In 1912, Farmers and Merchants Bank received a national charter and became State National Bank.
On December 27, 1915, First National Bank was robbed by three men who arrived in town on horseback. Everyone in the bank, including President Brewer, was taken as hostages and forced to leave the bank at gunpoint. They were led to the edge of town, where accomplices were waiting with the thieves' horses. As the bandits stepped away from their hostages to make their getaway, they became entangled in barbed wire, tearing the bag holding their loot. Undeterred, they jumped on their horses, hollering, "Let's ride!" apparently oblivious that they were leaving a trail of silver dollars and five dollar bills behind them. Thankfully, the thieves left their hostages uninjured, although certainly a little shook-up. J.T. Baker, a member of the posse sent after the bandits, picked up some torn leather straps along the money trail, believing the evidence might, "make a difference later." It took a few days, but the posse tracked the thieves to a backwoods home. J.T. snuck into the adjacent barn to compare those torn leather straps he had gathered after the robbery to the saddles resting in the barn. Sure enough, it was a match, and the bandits were captured. (Marsh, 47-58)
- State National Bank constructed a branch on Highway 59 in 1996.
- In August, 2000, Sooner Southwest Bankshares, Inc., a bank holding company, purchased State National Bank.
- In January, 2001, Sooner Southwest Bankshares, Inc., purchased First National Bank.
- Sooner Southwest Bankshares wasted little time and in April, 2001, merged the two banks under the charter of First National Bank.
- In 2005, First National Bank began construction of a new, full-service branch in Poteau, OK. A temporary building was opened on the property during construction of the permanent facility.
- The new FNB Poteau branch was completed and opened for business in December, 2006.
In 1958, Phillip Freeman came to work at FNB and later served as President / CEO. Phillip's son, Eddie, and O.J.M. Brewer's great-granddaughter are employed at FNB today.
Marsh, Ralph. "Biography of a Bank." Yellow Dog Press, 1995.