The year was 1903, and a decorative dome rising high in the skyline from the heart of Coweta marked the location where patrons would conduct business with the First National Bank of Coweta.
Fast forward 116 years and the same bank, although in a different structure, still stands on the same corner of Broadway and Sycamore Streets, serving families of the present and future just as it has with those of the past.
Scaffolding surrounds the financial institution this week, indicating that some changes are on the horizon for one of the only two remaining locally owned banks — and oldest — in Wagoner County.
First National Bank of Coweta will now be known as FNB Coweta as the bank begins operating as an Oklahoma state chartered bank.
Bank President Mike Lyles said customers will not see any changes in the financial products and services offered, or the people that deliver them. What they will see is an updated logo and a new look for the old building.
“We have operated under a National Bank Charter since 1903 under the supervision of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency,” Lyles said. “Last year, we made the decision to convert to an Oklahoma state bank charter, which puts us under the supervision of the Oklahoma State Banking Department.”
Lyles said the shift was made “because we are an Oklahoma bank that is here to serve Oklahomans.”
“We felt that operating under the supervision of the Oklahoma State Banking Department was the best fit for our bank and our customers,” he explained. “Additionally, it makes sense economically since state banking department fees and assessments are significantly less than those of the OCC.”
The First National Bank of Coweta opened for business on July 22, 1903, with a capital stock that year of $14,000.
The original, two story bank building was razed in 1967 and replaced by the current structure in early 1968.
The facility has undergone a number of facelifts over the years, and current renovations will bring the exterior back to a turn-of-the-century look. There will be a brick facade that matches the brick archway to Centennial Plaza to the south, columns on each building corner and outdoor lighting fixtures.
Lyles said bank officials and staff are excited about the change in the look of the building, as well as the updated logo.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to do something that required us to change the name of the bank that has been so familiar since we opened in 1903, so our decision to go with FNB Coweta is an effort to keep our name as close to the original as possible,” he noted.
“These (physical structure) changes are needed as our building is looking pretty worn,” Lyles continued. “We are excited to bring a look that compliments the historic buildings of downtown.
“Our new logo is a refresh of our existing logo and gives us an updated look to go along with our remodel that is in progress.”
Indoor renovations will include new paint, flooring and furniture.
The project will be handled by Truco Development with renovations expected to take approximately eight weeks to complete.
“We are excited to use Truco as a local commercial construction company,” Lyles noted. “We are a Coweta bank and part of the Coweta community. We encourage people in Coweta to bank locally, and we also want to do business locally.”
Lyles said community residents and customers will begin to see changes soon as the bank adds its new name and logo to documents. New signage will be installed soon at the downtown drive-thru bank on East Sycamore and at the branch office at Highway 51 and Oneta Road.
Only 10 different presidents have led the First National Bank of Coweta in its 116-year history. Lyles, as well as former bank president Norman Satterfield, both serve on the bank’s board of directors, as does Deborah Vernon. She is the granddaughter-in-law of W.S. Vernon, one of the bank’s original founders.
“We are proud of our history and our heritage in both Coweta and Wagoner County,” Lyles said. “We are proud to be a part of its past, it’s present and we look forward to being an integral part of its future.”