Celebrating 90 years

ELKINS – Citizens Bank of West Virginia reached a milestone Wednesday.

The bank, a mainstay of the Elkins area since 1924, celebrated its 90th birthday. Employees, sporting red shirts, gathered first thing Wednesday morning to sing “Happy Birthday,” while President and CEO Thomas K. Derbyshire cut and served birthday cake.

Customers visiting the bank Wednesday were greeted with bright balloons, cake and the chance to sign up to win weekly prizes.

The bank has a rich history, being the first in the area to introduce many new services to its customers.

Citizens Bank got its start 90 years ago shortly after the conclusion of World War I. Organizers established the bank to meet the needs of increased employment and consumer demands brought on by the prospering timber, coal and railroad industries in Randolph County.

The bank formally opened for business on Jan. 22, 1924, as Citizens National Bank, in rooms rented in the Cain Building on Davis Avenue in downtown Elkins with two employees. In May, the bank moved to the Heavner Building on the corner of Third Street and Kerens Avenue to satisfy a need for larger quarters brought on by increased business.

By 1940, the staff had increased to seven employees and a night depository was installed for the convenience of a growing customer base. Over the next decade, Citizens Bank continued to expand its product offerings and unveiled the first of many innovative services when it opened the first installment loan department in 1953 and installed the area’s first drive-in window in 1957.

It became imperative to again seek larger quarters as business flourished. The Wallace and Fitzwater property on Third Street was secured for the purpose of erecting a new bank building, and in 1963 Citizens Bank opened for business in its current location at 211 Third Street, Elkins.

Just one year later, the bank opened the region’s first trust department

In 1976, the bank opened a new and expanded drive-in facility directly across the street from the main office. Moving forward six years, Citizens Bank’s Board of Directors approved the purchase of an automated teller machine, another first for Randolph County banking. At the same time, a decision was also made to move the walk-up window to the drive-in facility.

With sustained growth, expansion was once again necessary and in 1983, the bank celebrated the completion of a new addition to the existing bank which consisted of two fully furnished floors with a third-floor shell.

Citizens made its first branch acquisition in 1984 from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, purchasing the Tucker County Bank in Parsons.

A disastrous flood severely damaged the Parsons office in 1985; with new equipment, furniture, repairs and staff tenacity, banking services were quickly restored to the Tucker community.

A third office was opened in 1991 on Main Street in Beverly in a continuing effort to better serve the Randolph community.

Another first in the independent banking industry in Randolph County happened when Citizens Bank initiated a telebanking system in 1997. With this new service, customers could telephone the Telebank Module and receive information regarding their deposit or loan account(s) 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Seven years later Citizens expanded its 24 hours banking services to include free Internet banking and bill pay.

In 1999 Citizens Bank held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony announcing the opening of Citizens Investment Services, partnering with Cetera Investment Services. Through Cetera, alternative investment options, including stocks and bonds, mutual funds, tax-deferred investments, and U.S. government securities as well as complete financial planning are available to local residents.

In 2000 Citizens built a new full-service branch facility in Slatyfork, with opportunities to serve the resort area of Snowshoe Mountain. Additional ATMs were also placed atop Snowshoe Mountain Resort to service the guests.

Citizens Bank took a very important step in 2009 and converted from a nationally chartered institution to a state charted institution. This necessitated a bank name change and Citizens National Bank became Citizens Bank of West Virginia. This was a positive move for the bank which improved operational efficiency, while still maintaining full FDIC insurance protection.

As products and services have been added and enhanced throughout the nine decades, another 24-hour service was launched in 2013. Citizens Bank customers can now take their bank on-the-go with Mobile banking that enables them to view account balances, pay bills, transfer funds, make person-to-person payments and more.

As the bank celebrates its 90th birthday and looks to the future, President and CEO Thomas K. Derbyshire says Citizens has its sights on customer service and technology.

“Citizens Bank is always ‘looking forward, reaching higher’ to better serve our customers as documented in our 90 years of history,” Derbyshire said. “The diversity of our menu of financial products and non-bank services makes us more than just a bank – we’re more like a financial center.

“To deliver these services, we have a dedicated staff committed to providing a gold standard of service to each and every customer; additionally we offer the best in technology, such as mobile banking and online banking services that makes our customers’ financial lives so much easier to manage.”

“Throughout the years, our success has also been built on our volunteerism and involvement in the community,” stated Derbyshire. “We have a lengthy history of employees participating in civic and charitable clubs and organizations. We are privileged to contribute to or sponsor many charitable events, for the betterment of our communities.”

In 1924, the aspirations of the bank’s founders were to meet the needs of the 20th century. On its 90th birthday, Citizens Bank of West Virginia is proudly serving the financial needs of the 21st century with world-class technology, security, gold standard service and a nationally competitive product menu.

Citizens Bank has offices in Elkins, Parsons, Beverly and Snowshoe.

The 90th celebration will continue through Feb. 22 with weekly prizes to be drawn each Friday, including $90 cash and $90 gift cards to Krogers, Par Mar and Cinema 8. A DELL tablet will be given away on Feb. 21. You must register each week to be included in the drawings. No purchase is necessary.

Other bank specials are also being offered now through Feb. 22 with rates as low as 1.99 percent on mortgage and auto loans, free gifts and benefits with the opening of checking accounts, .90 percent APY for 48 month CDs, and free gifts for consultations with the Bank’s financial advisor or trust officer. Visit any Citizens Bank location for details.