Walcott Trust and Savings Bank was created by the merger of two banks during the Great Depression- Walcott Savings Bank and Farmers Savings Bank. Walcott Savings Bank was organized in 1893 and was located on the southeast corner of Bryant and Henry streets. Farmers Savings Bank started in 1904 and was located in the east part of the current bank building. The two banks merged on May 20, 1931 into the current Walcott Trust and Savings Bank.
The bank takes great pride in the quality of its directors, officers and employees. Many of the employees and directors have served the bank for numerous years. Some of the directors are children and grandchildren of prior directors. Clemens (Cal) A. Werner, Jr. is a director and President of the bank. Clemens (Clem) A. Werner, Cal's father, was a director and chairman of the Board. Clem's father Ernest Werner, and grandfather, Albert Werner, were also directors of the bank and its predecessors. Kent A. Paustian is a current director and his father, Dale H. Paustian, and his grandfather, Horace Paustian, were also directors.
The current Board of Directors of the Bank is Clemens A. Werner, Jr., Kent Paustian, Susan Daley, Bob Garman, and Will Moon.
THE WERNER FAMILY INTEREST IN WALCOTT'S BANKS
The Werner family has invested in Walcott's banks for four generations. Albert Werner, born in Pommern, Germany in 1853, came to America in 1873 and started on the road to success in Walcott as a blacksmith. From that beginning he owned a blacksmith and wagon shop, plumbing and heating business, and Ford and John Deere agency (for over 50 years). He was a director of the Walcott Savings Bank from its founding till its merger with the Farmers Savings Bank in May 1931 during the Depression.
Ernest Werner was born in Walcott on January 27, 1878, the son of Albert and Anna (Moeller) Werner. He was active in all of the business activities and was a founder and president of Farmers Savings Bank until its merger with Walcott Savings Bank in 1931.
In May 1931, Walcott Trust and Savings Bank was formed with Ernest Werner as Chairman, J.H. Strohbeen as President, P.A. Dietz as Vice President, Arnold Sindt as Cashier and Horace Paustian, Albert Illian, Harry Brockmann, Gus Hamann, H.P. Soenke, J.H. Stouffer, and Will T. Goering, who with the officers, were the Board of Directors. The bank occupied the first floor in the east half of the present bank building. Otto Andresen then occupied the first floor in the west half where he had his Walcott Grocery Store.
The only Walcott merchants who purchased stock were Ernest Werner, Phil A. Dietz, J.H. Strohbeen, J.H. Stouffer, and Arnold Sindt with the balance of 516 shares largely held by farmers. Eighty shares were held in trust to be sold later.
In 1949, control of the bank was acquired by the Werner family. After the sale, Ernest Werner was Chairman, Arnold Sindt was President, Clem Werner, son of Ernest and Anna (Riessen) Werner, was Vice President and Kenneth Dietz was Cashier. In addition to the foregoing, the Board of Directors consisted of Horace Paustian, Albert Illian, Harry Brockmann, Gus Hamann and Harvey Goering, all farmers. At that time, the bank had two tellers, Ardyth Christensen and Alice "Noogie" Ruwe (McAllister).
As the banking business grew, it became necessary to take over the west half of the building, the Walcott Store. So in 1965, the interior of the building was completely made over. The partition and bearing wall between the bank and store was replaced with a huge I beam which supported the second floor and which opened up the bank for efficient use of the space. In addition, a drive-up was constructed on the west side of the building and a lighted parking lot was erected across the street. In 1974 Cal Werner, son of Clem and Jane (Ellithorp) Werner, became affiliated with the bank. In 1985, further reworking was done and the bank added about 15 feet to the westerly side of the building, which was used for offices in the front and needed space for the recordkeeping in the rear. Also, the drive-up was now located at the rear, southside, of the building.
In 1998 and 1999, the bank was extensively renovated. The upstairs apartments were removed and instead a boardroom, needed office space and conference rooms were created. An elevator was installed and a beautiful stairway from the lobby was erected. The entire downstairs space was rearranged and attractively redecorated to serve its customers in this great 100-year-old building.
From its humble beginning as a bank in 1931, when it had two employees, Ardyth Christensen and Alice Ruwe, the bank has grown to 27 employees (on January 1, 2014). Employees are dedicated to serving bank customers in a friendly and confidential manner. In addition, bank employees are involved in many community organizations.
During this entire banking experience of over 100 years, the Werner family of Albert, Ernest, Clem, and Cal have been directors and from the days of Ernest Werner have been officers of the bank.