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The First Bank Story

The First Bank story began in Carmi, Illinois, in 1893. Our founders built the bank with a mission to provide strong financial futures for our communities.

 

After more than 125 years and just six First Bank presidents, we are a very stable and successful family of companies – giving our clients integrated solutions from a single, trusted partner.

Adam Miller, 1893-1906

Adam Miller was the first president of The First National Bank of Carmi. In 1893, a gentleman by the name of Tom Hall approached Miller about partnering to form a bank. There was already a state bank in Carmi, but Hall thought it was not large enough to meet the needs of the community. As a result, Hall, Miller and nine other shareholders met to organize a new national bank. Miller was elected president and Hall was named cashier. On December 29, 1893, the charter was signed by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, and The First National Bank of Carmi opened for business on January 2, 1894. By the end of 1906, assets had grown to $490,000 when Adam Miller stepped down as President.

 

Thomas Hall, 1907-1936

Tom Hall became the bank’s second president in 1907. The bank became a member of The Federal Reserve system in 1914, and in 1917, Hall was elected mayor of Carmi. The bank was quickly outgrowing its location and in 1921 opened a new building across from the original location. Under Hall’s leadership, The First National Bank of Carmi became the town’s first million-dollar bank in 1925 and made its first acquisition in 1933 when it purchased Burnt Prairie State Bank. Hall continued as the bank’s president while he was elected to the General Assembly in 1934 and then reelected in 1936. After growing the bank’s assets to $1.3 million, Tom Hall passed away from influenza in February 1937.

 

Jennings Marlin, 1937-1955

Jennings Marlin was the third president of The First National Bank of Carmi. Marlin was the bank’s cashier and was appointed president just a month after Hall’s passing. Over the next two years, Carmi entered an oil boom and its population almost doubled. Then in 1943, as the bank celebrated its 50th anniversary, assets grew to more than $3 million. Continued growth in the community prompted the need for even more space, so The First National Bank of Carmi purchased property adjacent to the bank and began planning a new, state-of-the-art facility. Jennings Marlin unexpectedly passed away in September 1955 as the bank hit $8 million in assets.

 

Curtis Bohleber, 1956-1988

Curt Bohleber was the bank’s fourth president. He started at the bank as a bookkeeper and was promoted to cashier. A few months after Marlin died, Bohleber was named president. Milestones to note during Bohleber’s tenure include the opening of the new headquarters in 1957, introduction of drive-up banking in Carmi in 1966, another building expansion in 1975, the formation of the bank holding company in 1980 and the bank’s first ATM in 1985. Curt Bohleber retired in 1988 as The First National Bank of Carmi reached $60 million in assets.

 

 

Alvin Fritschle, 1989-2019

Al Fritschle joined The First National Bank of Carmi as a senior loan officer in 1986, and he became its fifth president in 1989. Through Al’s vision, the company has exponentially expanded its footprint, services and technology. The bank’s first branch opened in Carmi in 1990. In 1996 a second branch opened in Grayville, and the bank acquired The First National Bank of Enfield. To expand service offerings, an insurance company was introduced in 1999 and quickly grew with two acquisitions that year. The bank entered Mount Carmel in 2001, followed by the addition of brokerage and wealth management and title insurance services in 2002. Continued expansion and the need for more space for support functions prompted the construction of an operations center across from the Carmi downtown office in 2005. From there, First Bank continued to grow as it entered Indiana markets – Mount Vernon in 2005, Poseyville in 2007, Princeton in 2008, as well as Evansville’s east side in 2011 and west side in 2012. In 2019, the Board of Directors elected Al to be Chairman and CEO and appointed Nikki Roser as President of First Bank to manage day to day operations. This would ensure a smooth management transition upon Al’s future retirement. 

Nikki Roser, 2019-Present

Nikki Roser is a 17-year veteran at First Bank, is a CPA and earned her MBA from the University of Southern Indiana. She started in 2002 as the company’s Internal Auditor and has held management responsibilities in several areas. In March 2019, she was appointed the bank’s President and runs the day-to-day operations of all aspects of the company. She is most passionate about helping others grow to their fullest potential. Partnering with clients and watching their businesses thrive and prosper is her greatest joy. Nikki and Al’s vision has and continues to be evident in their strategies to grow First Bank and its associates.

 

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