The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Money

March 16, 2014

United Bank celebrating its 175th anniversary

On St. Patrick’s Day, 1839, a man named Beverly Smith opened the first bank we know today as United Bank.

Back then the bank was known as Northwestern Bank of Virginia and the first location was in Parkersburg.

This month, the bank is celebrating its 175th anniversary — 175 years of providing customer service, giving back to the community and presenting customers with a shamrock for 175 St. Patrick’s Days.

“Our mission is excellence in service to our employees, to our customers, to our shareholders and to the communities,” current Chairman and CEO Richard Adams said.

Much has changed since the first bank’s president, James Cook, was in charge 175 years ago. Cook was a former mayor, sheriff and legislator in Parkersburg.

The bank has survived its share of hardships since it first opened its doors, including the War between the States when West Virginia successfully seceded from Virginia, and the great floods of 1884 and 1913.

Adams said the company has grown significantly, especially since banking law was changed in West Virginia in 1982.

“We have grown to a $11.7 billion regional banking company with 133 offices in five states and the nation’s capital.”

He said the bank has increased dividends to shareholders for 40 consecutive years and is actively involved in each of the communities it serves.

Organizations like United Way, Boys and Girls Club, Salvation Army, Kids Count and more have received over $2 million from the bank.

Adams said United Bank is the official sponsor of Mountaineer athletics at West Virginia University and has funded a number of scholarships for West Virginia students.

With locations in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and Washington, D.C., Adams said United is the 48th-largest banking company in the nation.

More than 1,700 people are employed by United.

“Jobs make a big difference in any community, so we’re happy that we’ve been able to grow and provide employment opportunities in the various markets,” he said.

Adams said the bank plans to continue expanding and making additional acquisitions to build the franchise.

“We’ve built a great reputation of being an institution that cares about the customer and provides the very best of customer service.”

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South Market President D.F. Mock agrees with Ad-ams about United striving to take care of its customers and the community.

Mock got his start with United Back over nine years ago, but came to the Beckley area in 2008.

As South Market president, he oversees operations for 10 branches in Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas and Webster counties.

“It has been a blessing to serve this role, as the bank has provided me with great opportunities to serve on many local boards and civic organizations.”

Mock is involved with the Beckley Area Foundation, Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Southern West Virginia, Beckley Rotary Club and the Carter Family Foundation.

“I have great passion and pride to be able to serve as a board member and officer for these organizations,” Mock said. “I thoroughly enjoy working with the fantastic employees and it’s been a great experience serving the wonderful customers of southern West Virginia.”

For more information about United Bank or to find a location near you, visit www.unitedbank-wv.com.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com

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