Union Bank & Trust Company’s Proud Past
Union Bank & Trust Company has a long and proud history. Established originally in 1897, the Grange Bank was purchased by Gertrude Eager in 1916, and Leonard P. Eager began his banking career. There were two other banks in Evansville at that time, the Bank of Evansville and the Farmers and Merchants State Bank. The Grange Bank was the smallest, having total deposits of $155,000.
In 1925, the Bank of Evansville closed. The Grange Bank increased its capital stock from $15,000 to $50,000, and purchased the building formerly occupied by the Bank of Evansville, located at the present site of Union Bank & Trust Company. The name of the bank was changed from the Grange Bank to the State Bank of Evansville.
In 1932, the State Bank of Evansville and the Farmers and Merchants State Bank merged, and the name of the bank became Farmer’s & State Bank. Then in 1940, the bank began to offer trust services and the name was changed to Union Bank & Trust Company, which it has remained.
In 1952 it was again time to grow. The bank’s deposits now exceeded $3,000,000. Some remodeling was done and a new two-story granite and glass brick structure was erected.
The bank continued to grow and prosper, and by 1968, the facilities were again deemed too small. It was again time to expand. There were 15 employees, and the bank’s deposits were $7,000,000.
The switch to computerized bookkeeping began in 1969 with demand deposit accounts, and all other departments of the bank followed in the next few years.
In 1979, the motor bank was built. The increased use of the facility through the years has proven that this, too, has helped meet the changing needs of the community.
In January 1989, the bank purchased an in-house computer so that we could do our own processing. The system has resulted in more efficient record keeping and better management tools, and the flexibility to meet the ever-changing needs.
The bank installed its first cash dispenser Tyme machine at the Evansville Gas n Go in 1992. This allowed our customers and non-customer the opportunity to obtain cash after banking hours. Since that time, we have installed three additional machines within our market area.
In 1996, after 99 years of offering banking services in one community, an opportunity presented itself to open a branch in Brooklyn. In May of that year, the Brooklyn facility along with most of its deposits and loans were purchased from M & I. With that acquisition, the bank’s asset size grew from $43,000,000 to $58,000,000 and the number of employees grew from eighteen to twenty-four.
In March of 1997, bank management decided to open a new branch in the Village of Belleville. We opened for business that month in a mobile home bank. It wasn’t fancy, but the bank grew rapidly and so management decided to begin making plans for a new building.
In June of 1997, the Union Bank & Trust Company celebrated its Centennial. It was a big event that was celebrated at all of the branches. Governor Tommy Thompson came to Evansville to commemorate the event along with a brass band.
In early 1998, bank management decided to build a new facility in Belleville to emphasize our commitment to that community and to accommodate the anticipated growth there. The facility was completed in June of 1998. By that time, the bank’s assets were $70,000.000 and the number of employees were twenty-eight.
In 1999, it was decided to address the increased flow at the motor bank in Evansville. It was decided to expand the motor bank from 2 to 4 lanes. The project was completed in the fall of 1999.
Internet banking became available by the end of 1999, which completed a very active year for us, just in time to welcome the new millennium.
In 2002, the bank hired a mortgage lender to service our trade area from his car. As bank management began to see that he was becoming effective, particularly in the Oregon market, the bank’s interest in the Oregon area increased.
In April 2003, the bank chose to lease an office on Janesville Street, in Oregon, in which to market our mortgage and commercial loans out of. Due to the success we experienced we expanded to a full service office in May 2003.
Also in 2003, construction began on 6 E Main Street in Evansville. 6 E Main Street doubled the present size of Union Bank & Trust Company from 8,000 square feet to 16,000 square feet! UB&T is restored 6 E Main in a manner to preserve its historical value. The new addition houses UB&T management and human resources on the first floor as well as an expanded loan processing department on the second.
In November 2005 we broke ground for our new office in Oregon. This office will break completely with traditional Bank designs. There will be no Teller Line. The Drive Up will be serviced by Remote Teller Systems utilizing video/audio technology.
In 2006, our new Oregon office opened in July. The Bank purchased a passenger van in Evansville to transport Evansville’s Senior Citizens. Our deposits grew about $15,000,000.
In 2007, our staff went through a number of changes this year. We were able to create greater efficiencies because of this. We remodeled our Lobby in Evansville. We implemented the theme used in our Oregon office, removed the teller line and installed two personal Banker stations. This allowed for a more private environment for consultative meetings with our clients. Pneumatic tubes were installed to connect the Main Bank with the Motor Bank.
In 2008, the nation’s economy took a downward spiral, as did the Housing Market and more. Our Web site was completely changed; it was a great improvement.
2009 was a very exciting yet challenging year. The nations economy experienced the worst recession since the Great Depression. But with challenges comes opportunity. We were able to purchase two Offices from Amcore Bank. Belleville Amcore was folded into our existing office. This solidified our presence in the Belleville market. We also entered a new market, New Glarus. The entire staff came with the acquisition and they have blended well into our team. We also were covered on ABC World news with Charles Gibson. This was very exciting!
2010 – We added Steve Larson IT specialist to our staff, along with a very experienced Ag lender Rene Johnson. We also changed the names of our offices to incorporate our name Union Bank & Trust Company or UB&T into the office names. We updated our 3 year Strategic plan for 2011 – 2013. High grain prices coupled with solid years made 2010 a very profitable year for our farm clients. We continued to grow this niche of our business.
2011 -The economy continued to struggle. Home foreclosures remained at an all time high. Many of our clients continued to struggle and we experienced significant loan losses. However, we did remain profitable. We feel we have put most of our problem loans behind us and are poised for a very positive future. We continued to expand our Ag team with the addition of Jessica Sarbacker, our Crop Insurance Specialist. The Ag economy continued to be a bright spot, as yields and prices remained high.
To be continued …