Citizens Bank of Lafayette, Tennessee, was organized under state charter on April 10, 1909. M.S. Freeman was elected as the bank’s first president and W.J. Hirring was elected vice-president. The 83 original shareholders invested $12,000.
Citizens Bank opened for business on July 1, 1909. The Board of Directors met on November 24, 1909 and elected William Parker to serve as Cashier and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Parker served as CEO from 1909 until 1960.
The bank continued to prosper and on October 17, 1931, a contract was signed for Citizens Bank to acquire the assets and liabilities of Farmers and Merchants Bank and Trust Company. This protected depositors from any loss during the Great Depression. During the bank’s early years, there were many who served as Chairman of the Board including M. S. Freeman, P. East, W. A. Smith, W. C. Gregory, W. J. Sullivan, and A. W. Jenkins.
Citizens Bank continued to operate at 218 Public Square until a new modern bank building was constructed across the street in 1954. The new bank featured lock boxes, a night depository, and a drive-in window. The new building officially opened in 1957.
J. W. Taylor was elected President and CEO of the bank in 1960 and he served in this capacity until 1972. Dr. John Smith was Chairman of the Board much of this time.
Charles E. Darnell was named President and CEO on May 1, 1973. The bank’s first branch was opened on Scottsville Road in Lafayette in 1974. The Red Boiling Springs Branch opened in 1977. In 1987, the bank opened a branch in the Siloam Community of Macon County and moved it to a new building in Westmoreland in 1994.
Citizens Bank continued to grow and prosper and in August 1986, the stockholders voted to form a one-bank holding company. Later, Citizens Bancorp purchased the stock of Dale Hollow Holding Company which owned the Bank of Celina. The two banks merged in 1987.
In August 1993, Citizens Bancorp purchased the assets and liabilities of Smith County Bank from SunTrust Bank of Nashville. The bank continues to operate under the Smith County Bank name in Carthage.
By 1998, Citizens Bank had outgrown its main office on the Public Square in Lafayette. Property was purchased at the corner of College Street and Highway 52 By-Pass West and a new main office building opened on May 24, 1998. Continued prosperity led to Citizens Bancorp’s purchase of a majority interest in Liberty State Bank in July, 1999.
In 2005, Charlie Darnell retired as CEO after 33 years of outstanding service to the Bank. Peter Williston joined the Company in May 2005 and became CEO January 1, 2006. Earlier in the year, Citizens Bank President Mike Whittemore retired after 30 years of tremendous service, and Joe Carter was named President. Whittemore has since rejoined the bank as Senior Lender.
On July 1, 2009, Citizens Bank of Lafayette marked its 100th Anniversary with a celebration for our customers, shareholders and employees. In November, 2009, Citizens Bank expanded again with the acquisition of the Gainesboro, Tennessee branch of BankEast of Knoxville.
In 2013, Citizens Bancorp purchased the remaining Liberty stock not already owned and merged Liberty into Citizens Bank. Liberty State Bank has offices in Lebanon, Alexandria, Smithville, and Liberty, Tennessee.
During the first quarter of 2015, Citizens Bancorp acquired Traders Bank’s holding company, TraCorp, Inc. and merged Traders Bank into Citizens Bank. Traders Bank still operates under the historic Traders Bank name and has branch locations in Tullahoma, Shelbyville, Winchester, and Manchester, Tennessee.
We are proud of our successes; however, we owe this success to the hard work of our employees, the loyalty of our customers, and the support of our shareholders.
Smith County Bank
On April 21, 1892, one of the business landmarks of Carthage and Smith County began its life. Smith County Bank and Trust Company, as it was first known, was granted its Charter by the State of Tennessee with five incorporators. They were Mr. John A. Fite, President, Mr. J. H. Young, Mr. E. S. Hance, Mr. C. N. Davis, and Mr. George A. Howard. Mr. Fite served as President until his death at age 93. All of these men were of good name and very well respected.
The first building was a small, red brick building on Main Street which is now a part of the Walton Hotel building. The success of the Bank was such that in 1916, it moved from the original site to its new home opposite the Smith County Courthouse on Main Street. This building remained the home of Smith County Bank until February, 1974, when the present building was opened for business across from the Cordell Hull Bridge.
The Bank, better known as “The Old Reliable”, would soon face circumstances comparable to death with the closing of the historic institution on Friday, May 6, 1983. Citizens of Carthage and Smith County were saddened as accounting errors and a poor economy were blamed for the bank’s problems. The Charter was surrendered by the Board of Directors and the doors closed. On Monday, May 9, the Bank reopened as Smith County Bank, Branch of Murfreesboro Bank and Trust Company, later changing its name to Mid-South Bank and Trust Company. Customer confidence grew stronger as we offered new products and services, being the first bank in Smith County to introduce the Automated Teller Machine. On July 19, 1991, Mid-South Bank and Trust merged with Third National Bank, who subsequently merged with SunTrust Bank.
On August 14, 1993, Citizens Bank of Lafayette acquired the Carthage offices of SunTrust Bank and restored the Smith County Bank name.
Bank of Celina
The Bank of Celina is the oldest continuous business in Clay County, Tennessee. On March 2, 1895, the following people signed the application for the Bank Charter: J.T. Anderson, L.B. Anderson, A.G. Maxwell, H.H. Kyle, M.F. Green, George W. Stephens, and A.P. Green. W.L. Brown built the first building to house the Bank of Celina out of lumber from an old store building which he had purchased from A.P. Green. This Bank was located in “Old Town”. It has since been located at three other sites including the Terry’s Drug Store building. The following committee was appointed to select a lot in “New Town” for the second bank on June 29, 1927: Frank Kyle, W.A. Marcom, and E.P. Fowler. The Bank was moved to the square in 1928. It has been at its present location since the new building was constructed on East Lake Avenue in 1970.
Since 1917, some of the members of the Board of Directors have been: W.L. Brown, H.H. Kyle, W.C. Williams, M. F Hayes, F. B Mayfield, Frank Kyle, Millard Kyle, J.B. Walker, W.A. Marcom, E.L. Young, J.A. Howard, W. Grady Sidwell, E.P. Fowler, W.F. Brown, C.C. Donaldson, R.L. Donaldson, J.H. Overstreet, C.W. Burris, Sr., M.D. Cherry, Edward Mayfield, C.M. King, M.R. Marcom, P.M. Cherry, and Frank Thurman.
In 1987, Citizens Bank of Lafayette purchased the Bank of Celina and its branch at Hermitage Springs.
Liberty State Bank
Liberty State Bank, as Dekalb County's oldest bank, traces its origin to the Bank of Liberty which was formed in 1898 by A. E. Potter. Mr. Potter was the father of the late J. Edward Potter, founder of Commerce Union Bank of Nashville. In 1918, the Bank of Liberty and the American Savings Bank merged with resulting institution being Liberty Savings Bank. The present building was also constructed in 1918 using the best oak, poplar and marble interior finishes with solid brick walls.
During the Great Depression, Liberty Savings Bank remained open during a period when many other banks closed. Jim Bradley, who resided upstairs over the bank, was the cashier during this period.
As the depression was coming to an end, the late Edgar Evins, father of Joe L. Evins, became interested in the bank. Former Congressman Joe L. Evins, after assisting his father, followed him in leading the bank.
In April 1969, J. Roy Wauford, Jr., acquired the Evins' interest. In February 1973, the name was changed to Liberty State Bank and in November 1973, the first branch bank was opened in Alexandria.
In March of 1982, First National Bank of Lebanon, with offices in Lebanon and Watertown, was acquired by Liberty State Bank.
In April of 1991 Liberty State Bank sold its Watertown branch to Wilson Bank & Trust.
In 1994 the Smithville branch of Liberty State Bank was opened. In 1998 Liberty State bank opened its fifth office at 214 North Cumberland in Lebanon, TN.
In 1999, Citizens Bancorp Investments purchased the majority of the Liberty State Bank stock. In 2013, Citizens Bank of Lafayette purchased the remainder of Liberty's stock and merged Liberty State Bank into Citizens Bank
The five Liberty State Bank locations continue to operate under the name of Liberty State Bank, a branch of Citizens Bank of Lafayette.
Traders Bank was founded in 1889. In 1893, the bank was moved to 101 West Lincoln Street and there it remained for 80 years. For 20 of those years, the bank paid rent of $20 a month before buying the building. In 1965 the bank expanded by opening a branch office on West Lincoln Street. In January 1973, the bank moved to its present Main Office location. In 1998 Traders ventured into Franklin County and in 1999 ventured into Manchester. In 2010, Traders opened its most recent office in Shelbyville, TN.
In126 years, Traders has had 14 Presidents/CEO’s. They are: M. R. French, M. R. Campbell, M. N. Moore, F. B. Martin, Edward I. Hitt, Edward F. Hitt, Travis Hitt, George S. Miles, C. Ray Copeland, Tom Strawn, Bennie Garrick, Rob Norman, Clay Uselton, and presently Tommy Anderton.
Stability and tenure of ownership has been beneficial to Traders. Since February 1987, when TraCorp was formed, controlling interest has been in the capable hands of The Copeland Family, Bennie Garrick, and Daryl Hammers, with Tom Copeland serving as Chairman.
The stability and tenure of Citizens Bank of Lafayette’s ownership make the purchase of Traders Bank a natural fit for continuation of excellence in serving customers and communities.