Downtown Fort Davis
Fort Davis State Bank was established in 1911. We have a long and well-established tradition of being your “People to People” Bank servicing the West Texas market of Jeff Davis, Brewster, and Presidio counties.
Fort Davis State Bank has come a long way in the banking world during its first century, from handwritten paper and pencil ledger books to modern online banking transactions. From the early horse and buggy years of 1911, the Bank has been open to the Big Bend area and beyond, to serve its customers with the best services available. Still home owned and operated after more than one hundred years, the directors and employees are proud to serve their customers and still strive to meet all of their banking needs. Through mean and lean years, Fort Davis State Bank has become a success in banking because of the loyal patronage of our customers. “Our customers are the road to our success.” Twenty-six stockholders held an organizational meeting on August 19, 1911, and the charter was granted on October 16 of that same year. The original Board of Directors was composed of Charles Mulhern, President; Dr. W.T. Jones, Vice President; W.S. Miller; J.W. Espy; and T.H. Brown Jr. G.W. Glenn was employed as Cashier and J.P. Weatherby as Assistant Cashier. J.H. Clark began his duties as Cashier in February of 1914 and served until his death in 1953. W.D. Bloys served as Assistant Cashier from 1919 until his death in 1945. Others who served as directors for over ten years include: J.W. McElroy, Frank Jones, M.O. Means, H.C. Espy, J.K. Miller, J.H. Clark, Pat Mulloy, W.W. McCutcheon, Mary Anne Jarratt, C. Cowden Means, C.C. Cowell, Ted Gray, John T. Williams, Jon Means, and John Fitzgerald. J.W. Espy and James Dyer served as directors for over half a century. Current capital stock has increased from $25,000 in 1911 (250 shares with par value of $100 per share) to over $17,000,000 (Paid in Capital and Surplus) in 2023. The first four months of operation in 1911 showed a net profit of $43.97. Dividends were declared and paid to the stockholders every year thereafter except for 1913, 1920, and 1932-1935. Although profits were realized those years, the excess funds were transferred to the surplus account. Interest rates in 1913 were recorded as high as eight percent, with a record number of loans made during February and April of 1935. Approved loans reached a record high of nearly 1,000 for each of those months. The Bank became a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1954, and it remains a member today. The Bank received approval to convert to a Sub Chapter S corporation in 2001, and a Bank Holding Company, known as Fort Davis Bancshares, Inc., was formed. The location of the Bank’s offices during the first two years of operation is unknown. It is most likely that the Board of Directors met at The Union Trading Co. located across the street from the present location of the Bank. In April 1913, the Fort Davis State Bank purchased, for $75, one-half undivided interest in the southwest corner of the town square which had belonged to the Odd Fellows Lodge (IOOF). The Bank and the lodge had a two-story stone structure, with a flat roof, constructed by the contractors, Campbell and Bance, who were in the area building a nearby hotel. The value of the Bank’s portion of the two-story edifice was set at $4,314 in April of 1916. An outhouse, built behind the Bank, was the only public facility of its kind available in the downtown area. A small structure, housing the acetylene gas light plant, sat close to the outhouse and furnished lighting for both the lodge and the Bank. The IOOF retained control of the second level, and the Bank occupied part of the lower level (the northeast corner room), while the other portion was available for rent and became a pool hall for several years. In 1922 a lease contract was negotiated between the Bank and W.F. Bogle for the northwest corner room to be used as a post office. The Bank purchased from the IOOF its interest in 1954, and the upstairs remained vacant for several years. At some point, the erstwhile Bank room became the Post Office, and the old pool hall became the Bank. The large front room, where banking transactions occurred, was remodeled beginning in March 1959, and the Loan Department was moved into the back portion of the lower level. The entrance was relocated to the northwest corner. This renovation occurred shortly before the Bank’s Fiftieth Anniversary celebration during the week of October 16, 1961. Just prior to the anniversary, the directors honored President Espy by formally naming the structure the Espy Building. The Post Office was also remodeled a short time thereafter with A.A Jarratt being the general contractor. The upstairs was made available for public activities in October 1964 with accessibility gained from a private outside entrance and stairwell leading to State Street. The upper level was later leased privately and became an art gallery. The decade of the seventies brought about several changes, including the addition of microfilm, a microfilm reader and teller machines. A workroom, Directors’ room, restrooms and kitchen area were constructed on the southwest side (back portion) of the lower level in the fall of 1982 with J.W. Ward being the general contractor. Refrigerated air conditioning was also installed at that time. In 1983 a Night Depository service was provided after the installation of a new safe. An in-house computer and loan processing system was approved in October 1985. These systems required new electrical systems to be installed. The above improvements were made in preparation for the Open House that was held on October 16, 1986, in celebration of the Bank’s Seventy-Fifth Anniversary. Perhaps the largest physical expansion occurred in the decade before the turn of the century. The Loan Department was moved to the newly remodeled upper level in 1993, after a self-operated elevator was installed for convenience of the patrons and employees. A drive through/walk up window was installed in 1995, with that window remaining open during the noon hour and having extended hours beyond the Bank’s regular posted hours. With the completion of this addition, the size of the Bank increased to approximately 12,000 square feet! As tourism increased, another service became necessary, and in 1996, Fort Davis State Bank Directors voted to provide Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to meet the demands of an ever-expanding economy. The most notable expansion occurred in the latter half of 1997 with the opening of Branch Banks in Alpine and Presidio. During its first three years of operation, the Presidio branch expanded to almost twice its initial size. Both the Alpine and Presidio facilities provide ATM’s and several drive-through lanes. With this expansion, Fort Davis State Bank became the only local, independently owned bank to provide full-service banking in the tri-county area of Jeff Davis, Brewster, and Presidio counties, later expanding to the Permian Basin with the opening of the TxBank Branch in Odessa in 2008. The Odessa market did not adequately meet the strategic needs of the Bank, so the branch was sold in 2013 to Platinum Bank. The post office outgrew its space and was allowed to end its lease in 2001, moving to a new and larger building, thereby allowing the Bank to begin utilizing that additional space as a Board meeting room, office space, and storage area. In October of 2011, the Bank celebrated its 100th Anniversary. The Bank building was opened to the public during the celebration and several exhibits throughout displayed some of the Bank’s wonderful history. In the past several years, some of the long-term employees who invested their time and expertise in this business have since retired and moved on. Deeply missed, they have been replaced by knowledgeable and well-trained staff. We strive to place employees in all areas of the Bank to best care for all of our customers. As with time, things change. Many new services have been added to improve daily operations and to better serve our customers. Credit and debit cards have replaced Traveler’s Checks; balancing methods have become automated to notify parties to begin processing the day’s work; enhanced software has been added to assist the Tellers with check cashing and balancing; monthly bank statements are now processed off site; computer technology has been developed to allow operational and loan automated communication with our locations in Alpine and Presidio. Check images are now stored on computer disks; bank and financial information has been converted to allow customers access to their account via the internet or telephone inquiry. As Fort Davis State Bank moves forward into the next century, we continue to give our valued customers the best up to date services. We are strong and secure, thanks again to our loyal customers. We will continue to live up to our strong slogan, Your “People to People” Bank. Thanks to you for making Fort Davis State Bank a success in the banking business.