Farmers and Merchants Bank   Milligan, NE  


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HISTORY

The Farmers and Merchants Bank of Milligan now stands on the lot where the first bank of Milligan was founded. The State Bank of Milligan lasted only five years, from 1892 to 1897. After its failure, A. V. Kouba organized a new bank in 1897 called the Farmers State Bank of Milligan. In 1900, he converted the institution into a private bank, the Nebraska State Bank of Milligan. In 1903, he sold this bank to the following group: George E. Aldrich, Anton A. Hamouz, Charles Smrha, Jr., and Frank W. Sloan, and it was renamed Farmers and Merchants Bank.

The organization and establishment of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Milligan came about through the efforts of Frank W. Sloan of Geneva. He served in the capacity of Fillmore County Attorney and as the expiration of his term approached, he interested himself in the banking business to the extent that eventually he became the leading figure in almost all of the banks of Fillmore County, and later his interests and influence extended beyond the boundaries of the county. He was instrumental in arousing the interest of Charles Smrha in the establishment of a bank at Milligan. Mr. Smrha was completing his second term as Fillmore County Superintendent of Schools and had made it known that he would not be a candidate for re-election. It required but little urging to convince Mr. Smrha that his hometown of Milligan presented a fertile field for the establishment of a bank and since his plans for the future were vague, the opportunity to engage in a promising business in his hometown among his own people appealed to him even though the immediate returns might not be particularly alluring.

The bank took an interest in the growth and development of the community and became an important factor in expanding the trade territory of the town. It survived the blast of two disastrous depressions of the early twenties and the early thirties, and the drought of the thirties without the loss of a cent to the depositors. It contributed its share in all activities which made for the growth and development and betterment of a trade center that refuses to subscribe to the theory that the little towns throughout the land are destined to succumb to dry rot.

The bank began with 30 accounts and total assets of $33,910.33. The bank grew slowly in its first 90 years reaching total assets of approximately $8,000,000 in 1992. The total assets of the bank today are near $50,000,000.00. The bank has always been independently owned. Other than the original owners, major stockholders have been J. J. and Ada Klima, Kenneth Barnard and currently Paul E. Chandler, Jr.

 

Please send comments and suggestions to dfilipi@fmbmilligan.com