The small town of Flanagan, Illinois is nestled between Interstates 55 and 39 on Route 116. It lies about 11 miles west of Pontiac and 30 miles north-northeast of Bloomington-Normal. It was there, that Flanagan State Bank was founded in 1913. When the bank was formed, there were 38 original shareholders and a capitalization of $25,000.
Henry "Hank" Schwerin, the first of the Schwerin family to be involved with the bank, was born in 1902 in Buck Creek, Iowa. He was the oldest of eleven children. He attended Wartburg College in nearby Waverly and moved to Flanagan, Illinois to join Flanagan State Bank after graduation in 1920. He started out working as a teller and by 1938, Hank and his father-in-law, Henry Koopman, had gained the majority of interest in the business. The Schwerin family, which first came to the Midwestern United States by boat from Germany in the mid 1880's, has been involved in the bank ever since. In 1967, Hank's son Paul took over as president. Then, in 1995, Paul's son, Kent took over the responsibilities.
Thomas Dillon (1913 - 1935)
J.H. Linneman, Jr. (1935 - 1938)
Henry Koopman (1938 - 1952)
Henry "Hank" Schwerin (1952 - 1967)
Paul Schwerin (1967 - 1995)
Kent Schwerin (1995 - Present)
Under Paul Schwerin's leadership, Flanagan State Bank built and opened its current main office, located on Main Street in Flanagan, in 1970. Paul got the idea for the bank's distinctive white façade in the late 1960's when he noticed a new bank building in Bonduel, Wisconsin on his way to go fishing in northeastern Wisconsin. Paul was very active in the economic development of Flanagan and was instrumental in bringing a number of businesses to the town.
The bank grew from approximately $4 million in assets in 1967 to over $34 million in 1995 under Paul's stewardship. Three of Paul's six children are still involved with the bank today - Kent Schwerin, Audrey Harlan, and Matthew Schwerin.
Click here to learn more about the current generation and their roles at FSB.
An Old Story
A story from over 50 years ago is a good illustration of how Flanagan State Bank cares for its customers. One day a young boy showed up in Hank Schwerin's office after he had lost his dog in an accident. The boy wanted to take out a $25 loan for a new puppy. Hank didn't make the normal response of calling the boy's dad (the local minister) to ask him to handle the situation. Instead he called in his secretary to draw up the proper papers, which the boy solemnly signed. The boy paid the note himself, a little at a time, and Hank never told his dad.
The bank became a leader in the modernization of agriculture in the 1950's, when it partnered with Howard Cotter to research and promote modern farming practices. Howard, the agriculture teacher at Flanagan High School, began providing free soil testing services from his garage with the help of the Flanagan State Bank. The Ag Plot Meetings of the early 1960's, where different hybrids were compared scientifically, were heavily attended and the findings spread quickly throughout the Midwest. During this time Mr. Cotter and the bank promoted a variety of other new practices such as planting higher seed populations and increasing soil fertility.
Agriculture is still extremely important to Flanagan State Bank. Our agricultural lenders, Rich Ritter, DJ Wyss, Kyle Koerner, Tim Koltveit, Marlin Miller, and Buck Hill work closely with our customers as they analyze both historical and projected cash flows to assist our farmers in their decision making. Rich, DJ, Kyle, Tim, Marlin, and Buck also make numerous summer farm visits to help determine plant populations, scout for pests, and project yields in order to update their projections. They are truly hands-on lenders and provide a valuable service for our farm customers.
Click here to learn more about our agricultural lending options.
Albrecht Trust and St. James Hospital
One of the most significant issues the bank has dealt with over the years was the John W. Albrecht Trust. Mr. Albrecht was an area farmer who owned about 2,800 acres of farmland in Livingston County. He passed away in 1977 with no close relatives, and left his entire estate in trust to build a hospital or nursing home facility in the area. The bank carefully considered the available options and chose the St. James-OSF Hospital in Pontiac, Illinois as the beneficiary. After surviving a court challenge from other potential beneficiaries, the bank managed the trust for the required period of time and ended up donating over $16,000,000 to St. James-OSF Hospital in the 1999-2000 time-frame. The beautiful new St. James-OSF John W. Albrecht Memorial Hospital now stands on the west side of Interstate 55 just off Route 116 near Pontiac.
The Bank opened its second branch in El Paso in 1996 and moved into a newly constructed building on Fayette Street in July of 1997. In early 1999, the Benson office opened in a renovated, former lumber and paint store on State Street. The Bloomington branch followed in 2003, and relocated to its current building on Washington Street in September of 2004. The fifth branch in Le Roy opened in a temporary location in December of 2005, and then moved to the building on Persimmon Street in the fall of 2007. The sixth and newest branch opened in Gridley on Center Street in 2013. The Bank continues to examine surrounding communities, to see which areas would benefit most from its services.
Products and Services
These days the Bank offers many services in addition to agricultural lending and trust services, including a wide variety of residential mortgages, a full range of business banking products such as remote deposit, and no-commission investment management and financial planning through an affiliate, CAPS Financial Group.
Many things change as the decades pass, but whether we use a quill pen or the latest in modern technology; the goal of our bank is to serve each of our customers in the same thoughtful, personal, and confidential way as Hank Schwerin did. Flanagan State Bank offers you local decision making, personal service and an array of state-of-the-art products you need to manage your financial lives. Here are some of the things we are known for:
- Knowledgeable lending officers who will tailor a product to suit your needs
- Hassle-free loans and closings
- Agricultural expertise and advice
- A full range of business banking and commercial lending options
- Competitive Certificate of Deposit and personal banking interest rates
- The Road Runners Travel Club featuring banking and travel benefits for those age 50 or better
In 2013, the Bank will be celebrating 100 years of service to our local communities. We hope that you will celebrate with us as we reflect on a century's worth of experience and growth!
The Bank is currently constructing a new main office in Flanagan, with a goal to open the facility in 2014. The modern structure will feature beautiful prairie-style architecture and will be conveniently accessible from both the highway and from town. A great deal of consideration was given to meeting the needs of both personnel and patrons. The new Flanagan State Bank headquarters will have more office space and provide greater confidentiality for our customers to conduct their business. Not only will the new location have all of the amenities one would expect, but it will also provide a meeting room for use by the people of Flanagan.
This new building is a promise that the Bank plans to be a part of our local communities for many years to come. More and more every day, Flanagan State Bank is a great place to do business.