Business: Curtiss State Bank (1912)


Surnames: Laabs, Trowbridge, Reibsamen, Thompson, Machlett, Christofferson, Erickson, Gavin, Bergstrom, Peterman, Wolf, Pawlak, Fricke, Bartholomew, Pugh, Snodgrass, Ryba, Gerber

----Source: Family Scrapbook

The Curtiss State Bank was incorporated June 5, 1912. The first officers of the bank were F.

W. Laabs, President; H. W. Trowbridge, Vice President; and Glen Reibsamen, Cashier. Other members of the original board of directors were Ole Thompson and Mr. Machlett.

A listing of all of the presidents of the bank would begin with F. W. Laabs, 1912-1914; then followed by Ole Thompson, 1914-1924; B. B. Green, 1929-1933, when he died in office. Then F. W. Laabs again served a term as interim president for a few months in 1934 until H .H. Christofferson was elected president. Fie served until 1954, and was followed by A.M. Erickson, 1954-1963; D. L. Gavin, three months in 1964; then A.M. Erickson finished out 1964. Edward Bergstrom was president for just a few months in 1965. B. J. Iverson became the majority stockholder and president later in 1965 and held that position through 1977. Jerry Gerber became president in 1978 and continues to hold that position at the present time.

In the early days of banking, cashiers were the chief executive officers of most banks. They were in charge of all day-to-day activities including operations and loans. The president usually was more of a figurehead and presided only at the board of directors meetings. Therefore, we should mention the names of all of the cashiers because they had more direct contact with the customers. Those cashiers were Glen Reibsamen, T. B. Peterman, F. W. Wolf, A. M. Erickson, Joseph Pawlak, Paul Fricke, and the present cashier Dolores Bacon. Other chief executive officers who ran the bank were a Mr. Bartholomew, Jerry Pugh, and Art Snodgrass.

Some of the other notable highlights that might be mentioned began in 1923 when the Curtiss State Bank joined the TEMPORARY Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (as you know, the FDIC still exists). About that time, or shortly thereafter, the bank sold debentures which were purchased by a federal agency called the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. These debentures were sold to keep the bank from being closed during the Great Depression and the RFC only purchased debentures from banks that were strong enough to weather those economic conditions. In March 1933, the Curtiss State Bank was granted permission to issue its own scrip. This was another attempt to forestall the hardships caused by the depression and a short time later all of this scrip was taken out of circulation.

The bank in Owen was not as fortunate as the Curtiss State Bank and it never reopened after the "bank holiday." Subsequently, a branch of Curtiss State Bank was opened in Owen in 1936. Then in 1954, after population centers had switched, the name was changed to the Owen-Curtiss State Bank. However, the main office remained in Curtiss until 1967 when the charter was switched to Owen by B.J. Iverson. Susan Ryba was appointed station manager in 1970 and is still working in that capacity.

Submitted by: Jerry Gerber




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