Fowler State Bank was established as a private bank on Dec. 5, 1899, in Fowler, by A.M. Lipsey, who served as cashier. The bank was originally known as the Bank of Fowler. The bank became incorporated as the Fowler State Bank on Oct. 14, 1907, with Lipsey serving as president.
In July, 1920, Hurley W. Fox, who had been associated with the Merchants National Bank in Lawrence, Kansas, bought Fowler State Bank and moved to Fowler with his family. Fox was president and chairman of the board of directors of the bank for a period of 34 years until his death in 1954. His son, Joseph M. Fox, assumed the presidency at that time. Joseph had been with the bank since his graduation from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1937.
Mrs. H. W. Fox, Hurley’s wife, became chairman of the board in 1954 until her death in 1986.
Jonathan Fox, son of Joseph and Maxine, began working in the bank in eighth grade as janitor, and continued through his high school years. Upon his graduation from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1980, Jonathan Fox became associated as an officer with Fowler State Bank. He assumed the position of CEO and chairman of the board upon his father’s death in 1992 and continues in those roles today.
Longtime officer Doyle Marvin became president until his retirement.
Joseph Fox's wife, Maxine, had active roles with the bank, including serving as vice chairman of the board of directors until her death in 2001. Joseph and Maxine’s daughter, Lynette Belkin, is also involved with the bank – including serving as the current vice chairman of the board of directors.
A fourth-generation in the Fox family, Sean Fox, who is the son of CEO and Chairman of the Board Jonathan and Shari Fox, also is active with the bank, serving as assistant cashier.
The bank originally was across the street from its current location on Main Street. In 1908, the bank employed W.T. Barnard to design and build the new bank building, which was completed in the same year.
A two-story addition was built in 1964 for bookkeeping, office space and storage.
Another expansion project occurred in 1990 when the building to the bank’s south, what had originally been the drugstore, was renovated for office space and conference facilities. This building had been purchased 15 years earlier by Fowler State Bank.
The latest expansion project occurred when Fowler State Bank purchased the former Fowler Tribune building, and then recently remodeled this location as a business incubator for the town, and to offer turn-key suites for rent and a spacious conference room. That building has been re-branded as the “Historic Tribune Office Suites”, embracing the history of the Fowler Tribune throughout the building.
Fowler State Bank is proud to have had a substantial part in helping the region develop from wide, rolling plains into a land filled with homes of prosperous and energetic farmers and ranchers, and a community of successful people and businesses, according to Jonathan Fox.
Fox said Fowler State Bank also takes great pride in offering its customers the latest in the most modern and secure banking technology, while maintaining personalized, friendly customer service.
Fox said, “We are proud of the generations of family and staff who have helped Fowler State Bank achieve this milestone of 120 years of banking excellence. We look forward to continuing to serve the community and the Arkansas Valley for generations to come.”
The Fox Family said, “ None of this is possible on our own”, expressing their deep appreciation for their outstanding staff who play a most vital role in the bank’s success. The Fox Family feels that the staff are truly “family.” The current staff are: Scott Jensen, executive vice president; Mary Harris, vice president and cashier; Brandon Mc Cuistion, assistant cashier; Kathy Keyes, loan secretary; Chelsie Eddy-Ass’t Loan Secretary; Carol Reeves-Head Teller; Loretta Sharon-Teller; Britnee Mc Cuistion-Teller/Bookkeeper; Jeanne Bates-Teller; Lisa Uratani, teller; Jodie Woods, head bookkeeper; Jenna Sharon, teller/bookkeeper; Wilma Gager, typist; Oli and Jesse Lopez, custodians.
In celebration of the bank's 120th anniversary, Fox invites everyone to come to the bank between the hours of 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 11 to help the bank celebrate its milestone. Refreshments will be served, and there will be opportunities to enter drawings for some wonderful prizes – including a 50-inch flatscreen TV and a Keurig coffeemaker, custom-made buck knives, as well as other prizes.