Press release from the Old Fort Banking Comany.
The Old Fort Banking Company is celebrating its 100th year as an independent community bank.
Chartered as a state banking institution, Old Fort was incorporated on July 18, 1916. Today, the bank remains a locally owned and operated financial institution. Headquartered in Tiffin, Ohio, Old Fort has assets totaling approximately $500 million. The Old Fort Banking Company remains an independent bank and operates through a community banking model that is the foundation for local decision making and provides the basis for client service that is reliable, responsive and competent.
“It is with great pride that The Old Fort Banking Company celebrates the bank’s 100th Anniversary,“ said Michael C. Spragg, President and Chief Executive Officer. “It is a true testament to the men and women who have been a part of this organization before us and with us today. As we reflect on the great legacy of Old Fort Bank and its founders, we look to the future with even greater excitement.”
“Today more than ever, people are seeking peace of mind and trust, particularly when it comes to their financial institution,” said Mike Daniel, the bank’s Chief Financial and Operating Officer. “For 100 years, The Old Fort Banking Company has been a pillar of strength in the communities we serve. Since our founding, we have successfully navigated all 12 of our nation’s documented economic recessions, as well as The Great Depression. We believe it is this experience that differentiates The Old Fort Banking Company from so many of our competitors. Old Fort continues to thrive as one of the oldest independent community banks in the region. Our goals and objectives are not driven by Wall Street. We focus on the local economy rather than reaching into unfamiliar markets.”
Spragg stated that other key factors that differentiate The Old Fort Banking Company include: Utilizing new technology to make banking faster, more convenient, mobile, and secure. Old Fort also adheres to a strict policy of independence. While other banks have come and gone over the years, Old Fort remains steadfast in its commitment to remaining independent in order to set its own course and make decisions at the local level.
The Old Fort Banking Company is known for reinvesting in the communities it serves. Through volunteerism, monetary and in-kind contributions, Old Fort is there for the community.
“We are committed to our role in the community,” said Eric Willman, Retail Administration Officer for Old Fort. “We look forward to continuing our 100-year tradition of forging long-lasting relationships and providing honest guidance and financial services to area businesses and residents. Our unwavering commitment to community values has helped fuel our history of continuous growth and expansion of services and market areas. We are proud of our past and we are excited about our future.”
Old Fort Bankers are deeply involved and committed to making the local communities a better place to live. It is an essential part of what they do and who they are as a community bank. The Old Fort Banking Company supports its corporate responsibility efforts by directing resources to make a meaningful difference to the people who live and work in the communities in which the bank operates. Through volunteer and financial support of numerous projects, Old Fort Bank assists in the success of its communities. “In fact, since 2006, The Old Fort Banking Company has donated over $1.7 million to local charities and organizations,” said Daniel.
“As a community bank, we believe it is our responsibility to develop strong roots in each community we serve, through both financial support and employee involvement. We maintain a strong presence in a variety of service organizations, charitable causes and public efforts. Our associates are also active members of civic groups, economic development programs, educational projects and revitalization efforts. Old Fort bankers are devoted to the communities they serve and, in a mutually beneficial relationship, we thrive when those communities are healthy, secure and prosperous,” Spragg stated.
”The success of The Old Fort Banking Company has always been rooted in community,” Spragg said. “As we celebrate and reflect on the past 100 years, our greatest successes have been our client’s greatest successes. Whether it is helping with the purchase of a new home, assisting in sending a child to college, financing local businesses, working with volunteer groups and other community organizations…we are privileged to have played a part in all of them.”
This year also marks not only Old Fort Bank’s centennial year but another historic milestone for Old Fort with the introduction of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Employee ownership now defines The Old Fort Banking Company, where thanks to the ESOP, the employees are the bank’s largest group of shareholders. 88 percent of all Old Fort Bank employees became shareholders. Chances are the next time you visit an Old Fort Bank, you will be served by an owner…truly a locally owned community bank.
The completion of the acquisition and ESOP transaction took place in December of 2015. “What has been accomplished is not only historic, but it has achieved the objectives of many hard-working individuals and assists in preserving a vital community asset…The Old Fort Banking Company. We are not aware of any holding company which was able to take its ESOP from 0 percent to over 45 percent in a single, integrated transaction…which is a true testament to our management team, associates, and board of directors,” stated Spragg.
In technical terms, The Old Fort Banking Company Employee Stock Ownership Plan was approved as a bank holding company by acquiring 45 percent of the common stock of Gillmor Financial Services and, therefore, indirectly acquiring control of the bank. The ESOP is valued at $15 million, and is designed as a retirement vehicle that does not require employees to make matching contributions, unlike a 401(k), which the bank also offers its employees.
The Old Fort Banking Company is proud to be a well-managed financial institution that continues to grow and provide safe and secure banking for its clients. During these challenging economic times, Old Fort Bank has never wavered from its adherence to the core principles that have guided its growth and sustained its strength in the marketplace for 100 years. The bank remains focused on: strong liquidity, disciplined underwriting standards, a consistent and conservative credit philosophy, having knowledgeable and experienced staff, and delivering superior client service.
Old Fort will be celebrating its centennial anniversary with numerous events throughout the year, notably with a client appreciation lunch held on July 15th, in Old Fort. Special anniversary products, services, and material will be unveiled as the year progresses.
The Old Fort Banking Company proudly serves Allen, Greene, Hancock, Sandusky, Seneca and Wood Counties, with financial centers in Bettsville, Clyde, Findlay, Fostoria, Fremont, Old Fort, Tiffin and Sugarcreek Township. Old Fort operates a commercial loan production office in Lima and also has a mortgage loan production facility in Xenia. Old Fort is a recognized leader in community banking throughout the area in assisting members of the community, including local businesses, farmers, individuals and corporations.