In 1901 Ed I.P. Staede laid the foundation for The First National Bank of Walker when he imported $4,000.00 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. 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 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. Mr. Staede served as First National’s President and Chairman of the Board until 1936. He sold his ownership in the bank to C.J. Elsenpeter and Otto F. Ringle, M.D. At that time C.J. Elsenpeter was appointed President and served as President until 1979 and Chairman of the Board until 1988.
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, he was appointed President in 1976 and served as President of the bank until 1988. He was succeeded by John C. Elsenpeter, who was President until 2004, and is currently the Bank’s Chairman of the Board. In 2004 Richard J. Tiedeman was appointed as the Bank’s Vice Chairman of the Board, and Michael J. Elsenpeter was appointed the President.
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.
In 1997 Walker Banco, the holding company held by the Elsenpeter family, purchased Lakes State Bank of Pequot Lakes, with an office in Cross Lake. Dave Elsenpeter served as President and JP Elsenpeter as Executive Vice President. The Bank expanded its service area to Baxter in 2014. Lakes State Bank grew in assets from $19,000,000.00 in 1997 to $110,000,000.00 in 2015.
In April of 2015 Walker Banco announced the merger of two of their banks, The First National Bank of Walker and Lakes State Bank of Pequot Lakes. Mike Elsenpeter serves as President of the northern locations in Walker, Hackensack, Akeley, Longville, Backus and Remer. David Elsenpeter serves as President of the southern locations in Baxter, Pequot Lakes and Crosslake. Paul Jaeger and J. P. Elsenpeter also serve as Executive Vice Presidents of the Bank.
The First National Bank of Walker has grown in assets from $4,000.00 in 1902 to more than $475,000,000.00 today.