By Tina Alvey
It’s a rare business indeed that can mark more than a century of success in any given town. First National Bank is celebrating just such an accomplishment this year, its 125th anniversary in Ronceverte.
Originally organized and chartered by the state of West Virginia in 1888 as The Bank of Ronceverte, the financial institution received a national charter from the Comptroller of the Currency on April 30, 1900, at which time its name was changed to First National Bank of Ronceverte.
The bank was under the leadership of two successive presidents in its inaugural year — A.F. Mathews, who resigned after less than three months at the helm, and John W. Harris.
The bank opened on July 30, 1888, at 218 Frankford Road and remained at that site until 1900, when a new structure was built on the corner of Edgar Avenue and Cedar Street on a lot the bank’s board had purchased for $275. The two-story brick building constructed on the same lot where the new bank stands today cost $2,075 to build.
Reorganized following the Great Depression, the bank was known as The First National Bank in Ronceverte from 1933 until January 1996.
The new bank building in Ronceverte, extending from Edgar Avenue to Main Street, with entrance on Cedar Street, was built in three phases. The drive-in facility was completed in 1976, the portion facing Main Street in 1978 and the side facing Edgar Avenue in 1980.
With the addition of offices in Virginia and other West Virginia towns, the bank adjusted its name to the current appellation, First National Bank, in 1996. Branches established in recent years are Lewisburg (1986), Covington, Va. (2001), Hot Springs, Va. (2004), White Sulphur Springs (2006) and, most recently, the downtown Lewisburg location which began as a temporary branch in 2008 and opened a full-service office the following year.
First National Bank prides itself on its rich tradition of providing quality financial services, while supporting more than 500 community organizations and events in the areas it serves, according to President and CEO Matt Burns.
“As a community bank, the earnings we make go right back into the community to make loans, help businesses and support organizations, all of which make our communities stronger,” Burns said.
To commemorate the bank’s landmark 125th anniversary, there are special activities planned throughout the summer, including a recently concluded essay contest for high school students in First National’s service area and continuing next month with an 11-day customer appreciation celebration and sponsorship of a barbecue competition with national implications.
The customer appreciation event will run June 10-21, culminating in drawings for 15 Greenbrier Classic badges. Customers are encouraged to stop by the bank during appreciation days to register and to return on the 21st to enjoy cake and beverages.
That night, First National is sponsoring a fireworks show that will close out a special West Virginia Day concert by the West Virginia Symphony at the State Fairgrounds in Fairlea.
The bank is also one of the sponsors of the Covington (Va.) Cork and Pork Festival June 28 and 29. A Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned barbecue competition is the centerpiece of this festival, which will also include entertainment, a wine tasting event and activities for children. The winner of the barbecue competition will vie in the national contest later in the year.
For more information on First National Bank, visit fnbwvva.com or call 304-647-4500.
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