71 years of growth, progress and stability.
That is National Bank of Sallisaw.
It was during the spring of 1928 when the hopes and aspirations of merchants were realized. To fill the much needed void for a bank in town, Sallisaw State Bank came into existence. The bank grew slowly, but steadily, making loans to farmers and local merchants.
Before the entrance of the 1930's, cotton was the principal livelihood of the community and the country. Several cotton gins existed in Sallisaw, and did much to keep the local economy alive and thriving. But suddenly, without warning calamity struck and cotton prices plummeted. No longer a profitable entity, what would this community of more than 2,000 now do? But worse, what about the town's only bank?
The bank quickly shifted its course with the tides of change. Looking now to a different market to recover from this economic slump, Sallisaw State Bank turned its attention to livestock as a potential investment, and began its journey to becoming the community's financial leader.
At the helm to accomplish this great feat was H. E. McDonald, Sr. Instrumental in birth and growth of the Bank, he had been elected cashier and loan officer by the bank directors, with I. H. Nakdimen, President of City National Bank in Fort Smith, and the prime stockholder of the new Sallisaw State Bank.
Mr. McDonald was a prime example that hard work does payoff. As a result of his tireless efforts he was able to acquire full interest in Sallisaw State Bank, from Mr. Nakdimen. On January 16, 1941 the headlines of Sallisaw's Democrat-American read "McDonald Acquires Bank." This was big news for such a small community. A local resident acquiring the town's only bank, this was something to talk about. But the real news was the about the man who had done the acquiring. H. E. McDonald, Sr. was loved by the community. To quote the Democrat-American "He is a life time citizen of the county, a capable business man, and has the interest of the city, county and people at heart. His genial personality has made him hundreds of friends who are glad that he is at the helm of this institution. In many respects bankers resemble mirrors in that they reflect conditions in the communities which they serve. Considering the progress of the Sallisaw State Bank in this light, the past years have been good ones, and citizens of the entire county are looking forward with reasonable optimism to a good year in 1941. Sallisaw should continue to forge ahead."
Forge ahead we did. Sallisaw residents of this community would not be where they are today had it not been for the vision and hard work of not just Mr. McDonald, Sr., but really the whole family. As the community grew so did the Bank. After World War II construction of several hundred new homes began. Sallisaw State Bank was in the forefront as a lending institution to pave the way for growth. It prides itself on the fact that during the next 25 to 30 years it had been leader in providing funds and retaining a great number of the permanent construction loans, for these new homes.
Looking back on the history of the Sallisaw State Bank it reveals tremendous steady growth. The day the bank's purchase was made public, its resources and liabilities were also made public. Resources were listed at $353,611.86. Just over 12 years earlier when the bank opened its doors to the community for the first time resources had been $148,734.71. In 1965, in a condensed statement of the condition of Sallisaw State Bank, holdings were listed at $5,437,437.70, for an increase of $5,288,702.99 over the funds available at the bank's inception.
In 1969, Sallisaw State Bank had become a national bank and was renamed National Bank of Sallisaw.
In 1991, upon Earl Jr's. retirement, the Bank was purchased by First Bank Corporation which owns First National Bank of Fort Smith and National Bank of Sallisaw and Citizens Bank and Trust Co. of Van Buren. Donald C. Armstrong, who has devoted much time and energy over the 18 years he had been with the Bank, was elected President by the board of directors when the Bank was purchased by First Bank Corp. He too, has continued to maintain the same sound business practices and personal customer relationships which were forged by H. E. McDonald, Sr.
Keeping with the main objective as a strong community bank meeting the ever-changing needs its customers, National Bank of Sallisaw embraced the opportunity to further expand its facilities in December 1995, constructing the Express Pointe Branch at 1500 E. Cherokee. Our Branch offers full service banking with extended lobby hours and ATM for 24 hour banking.
1997 saw yet another infusion of banking services offered to our prized customers, our parents and grandparents. The introduction of the new Prestige Platinum Club checking account. This being offered to our family of friends who are age 50 and older, to continue the travels of our senior citizens, and the bank down the road of success.
In October, 2001, National Bank opened a full service branch in Roland, Oklahoma. The Roland Banking Center offers full service banking to our customers in the Roland area.
Throughout the history of Sallisaw State Bank, now National Bank of Sallisaw, we have not only built a clientele of customers but have built strong solid friendships.