In 1901 Ed I.P. Staede laid the foundation for The First National Bank of Walker when he imported $4,000 of stone and brick and built the first bank in Walker, Minnesota. The bank was chartered as a state bank and was opened in 1902 as Walker State Bank. The bank was capitalized with $12,000 and Mr. Staede served as the bank’s first President. Harry Brummond served as the bank’s Vice-President, and Fred Knellan was appointed Cashier.
In November of 1906, the bank received approval for a National Bank Charter, then becoming the First National Bank of Walker. The bank capitalized at $25,000 and had assets of $60,000. The original Board of Directors were Ed I.P. Staede, F.B. Davis, Harry Brummond, Charles Kinkele, C.E. Griffith, and M.J. Quam.
In August of 1928 the First National Bank of Walker acquired the Farmer’s State Bank of Walker, which opened in 1916. The bank was located on the northwest corner of Minnesota Avenue and 5th Street. The combined assets of the two banks were $421,000 at the time.
Mr. Staede served as First National’s President and Chairman of the Board until 1936. At that time he sold his ownership in the bank to C.J. Elsenpeter and Otto F. Ringle, M.D. Mr. Staede died in October of 1946.
C.J. Elsenpeter joined the bank in 1924 at the age of 24. He was born and raised in Maple Lake, Minnesota and worked for Loretto State Bank before coming to Walker. He was appointed Cashier of the bank in 1930 and President in 1936. Otto Ringle, M.D. moved to Walker in 1931 and served the area’s medical needs until he retired in 1972. He served as Board Chairman until 1975. During C.J.’s time as President, First National experienced consistent growth and provided complete financial services to the Walker area. The bank moved to a new facility in 1957, which is still the present location of the bank.
C.G. Swenson joined the bank in 1936 as a Teller and Bookkeeper. He was appointed President in 1976. At that time, C.J. Elsenpeter became the Chairman of the Board. Mr. Swenson served as President of the bank until 1988 when he retired. He was succeeded by John C. Elsenpeter who joined the bank in 1967. John Elsenpeter stepped down as president in 2004, and was succeeded by Michael J. Elsenpeter.
The bank expanded its service area to the Longville residents in 1978, and Akeley residents in 1979. In December of 1990, First National Bank purchased The Backus State Bank, located in Backus and Hackensack, and in June of 2012 First National Bank acquired the Remer, Longville and Jenkins branches from Woodland Bank to accommodate the people of those areas.
The First National Bank has grown from assets of twenty thousand dollars after its first year of operation to assets totaling over three hundred fifty nine million dollars.
Thank you for being with us throughout the years! We look forward to serving you for the many years to come.