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The State Exchange Bank

A History of the State Exchange Bank

Photos of the Bank

1947 S.E. Bank Photo Book & Program

1978 S.E. Bank Photo Book & Program

True Detective Magazine's feature on the 1933 bank robbery

A HISTORY OF THE State Exchange Bank BY MARCIA P. ADAMS

AS PRESENTED TO THE ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY OF CULVER ON AUGUST 8, 1998.

An institution's chronological history can be as cold as stones that mark the dead. Personal stories of events that took place during the life of the institution are what impart warmth to the account and make it come live. 

If I were to sum up the history of The State Exchange Bank, I would say it was an institution begun by one family that existed for its customers and built community trust and helped people toward financial security. An institution built of brick and stone with a foundation of honesty and love for one's fellowman was the bank that Good Will built.

We think of Will Osborn as the personification of the institution and he was that, but it would be unfair to tell about W.O. and leave out the many other facets of the bank and its people that made it the grand institution it was. So, bear with me. I'll not get every name in place nor every promotion and change listed, but I'll use some of Charlotte Jung's history, some of Bob Rust's historical facts and my own additions.

Schuyler C. Shilling

Schuyler C. Shilling was born in 1862 near Round Lake, south and west of Knox, Indiana in Starke County. After high school, he attended Valparaiso University, the Bryant and Stratton Business College in Indianapolis, and taught school for two years. In 1887, he formed a partnership with brother Edgar to farm the 1000-acre shilling homestead in the Kankakee Valley, north of Hamlet, Indiana. After farming until 1900, he and wife Amanda with their five children moved to Culver, Indiana in Marshall County.

On August 1, 1901, there was a privately owned Exchange Bank of Culver, located on South Main Street, second lot south of Jefferson Street. (Later, this building became the Smith Shoe Repair and after that, the Cultice business) Schuyler Shilling bought the bank from M. C. McCormick. With an increase of capital from $ 5,000 to $10,000, and with resources of $20,000 the privately owned bank began operation under new ownership. There were 240 private banks in Indiana at that time.

Exchange Bank

Interesting to note, The Exchange Bank, previous to McCormick, had been owned by John Osborn, father of W. O. Osborn. John bought the bank as an investment. To start a hotel for flourishing Culver Military Academy business, Mr. Osborn sold it to M. C. McCormick. The New Culver Hotel was situated on the corner of Jefferson and Madison. In the early seventies its name was changed to The Osborn House. (More to come on this) And in the early 80's, the building was razed for safety reasons. Today, the lot is vacant but for a small ornamental gazebo on the back northwest corner. (More later)

Mr. Shilling started the operation of the bank with the help of his 14 year old daughter, Minnie, who was a sophomore in high school at the time. She assisted part-time in the bank, serving as teller and helped with the custodial work and was a full-time employee upon high school graduation. In 1905, the bank's assets were $51,323-an increase of $31,323 in four years.

Also in 1905, Minnie Shilling and Will Osborn graduated from high school. At that time, the high school was located in its present location with a barn extension for horses of students riding to school. High school student William Osborn provided hay for the animals for a charge of 25 cents a bail.)

Culver High School - 1912

Above: Postcard dated 1912 depicting the Culver High School at that time.

After graduation, Will took a job with Armour and Company and moved to Peoria, Illinois. Minnie took a full-time job at the bank in Culver. In April, 1906, W. 0. and Minnie were married. (He claimed to have married half of their class as there were only three in their class.) Will and Minnie moved to Peoria. In late 1906, Minnie and Will returned to Culver with Wi11 taking a position with the bank as cashier.       

Will also worked for his father at the New Culver Hotel. He registered guests at the hotel and helped with their luggage. One guest tipped the young man who carried their luggage to their room 10 cents. Later in the day the same guest went to the bank on business and the tipped bell hop was the teller who waited on him-Will Osborn. Thus it was in a small Midwestern village.

The first published bank statement in June of 1906 resources had increased close to $11,000.

On April 11, 1907, Mr. Shilling announced plans for a two-story brick- faced building to be constructed on the Northwest corner of Main and Jefferson Streets. The main entrance was to be set at a 45-degree angle on the Main and Jefferson corner. The bank and United States Post Office were to be on the first floor. The second floor was rented to the Masonic Lodge. The estimated building cost was $10,000.

May 7, 1907 statement listed S. C. Shilling, President; W. O. Osborn, Cashier; Minnie L. Osborn, Assistant Cashier. Edgar Shilling (Schuyler's brother) was listed as a Vice President, though the gentleman was never an active participant in the operation of the bank.

In 1912, W. O. Osborn was admitted to the bar as an attorney after having studied law on his own. He also became a full partner with his father-in-law, S. C. Shilling in the running of the private institution. In 1914, Irene Bogardus joined the staff as bookkeeper-auditor.

Miss Bogardus is remembered for her family home which is now the Bruce Holaday residence. The house she built for herself was later bought by "Bud" Roberts, an instructor at the Culver Military Academy, and is now owned by Chan and Dorrie Mitzell. The rest of the Bogardus farm became the North Shore Lane.

In 1915, Exchange Bank became a charter bank by the newly established Indiana State Bank Charter Board. Bank resources had risen to $236,000 and indicated a 4 per cent interest on certificates of deposit. In nine years, the assets had grown $173,894.09.

Two years later in 1917, and after fifteen years of being successfully operated by S. C. Shilling, W. O. Osborn, and Minnie Osborn, the bank was newly chartered by the Banking Department of the State of Indiana and became The State Exchange Bank of Culver, Indiana with $50,000 of paid-in stock, the same employees and seven stockholders: S. C. Shilling, W. O. Osborn, Irene Bogardus, J. P. Walters, Lewis Dillon, Franklin Overmyer and S. E. Medbourn. The assets amounted to $366,545.20.

Looking beyond 1917 to December of 1936, after nineteen years of continued growth, total assets reached close to two million dollars ($1,942,148.62). Also in that year the original shareholders were directors.

In the spring of 1918, the first Liberty Loan, World War I drive to raise funds for the war effort and to promote citizen support was initiated. The Culver bank was the only bank in Marshall County to meet every quota of World War I Liberty Loan Bonds. In September of that year, Carl M. Adams, husband of Margaret Shilling Adams, youngest daughter of Schuyler Shilling joined the bank family.

Below: the bank on Dec. 29, 1921…note bullet holes in the windows

Dec. 29, 1921 

At 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 29, 1920, robbers staged a bank hold-up. One of the men shot Jacob Saine, Culver resident who later died of the wounds. Jerome Zechiel was also wounded. Carl Adams twin brother, Earl, another defender on the scene, was not injured. Three robbers escaped on foot through the basement of the bank. One bandit who had crossed the street to the Ewald meat market and locked several customers of that store in the ice box after having sprayed the bullets that killed Mr. Saine got in the car with the driver of the get-a-way car and the two drove away from the scene. Later the three hold-up men who escaped through the basement were caught. The driver, named Byer, was apprehended in Knox, Indiana while he was walking into his home. The bandit who shot Mr. Saine was not caught. On January, l, 1921, the bandits were moved from the Marshall County jail to the Michigan City detention center as a precautionary move as the citizens of the county were very irate at the intrusion of their world. The bandits were arraigned on January 8 in Marshall County and were indicted by the Grand Jury on Manslaughter charges.

Getaway Car

Above: the getaway car, complete with bullet holes.

On May 18, Clarence Darrow from Chicago, 11, an attorney made famous by the "Monkey Trials" as the dispute concerning the origin of man became known, was named defense attorney for the three men. Even though the nationally known attorney made an impassioned plea for the defendants’ release, the jury brought in a guilty verdict. (Darwin's origin of Species: Man sprung from the monkey, but in this case of the bank robbers, they didn't spring far enough.) May 20, the judge sentenced them all to life imprisonment. (Please note the short time frame, January to May of the year 1921 to bring the bandits to justice.) On the counter is a partial report from the Plymouth "Weekly Republican" newspaper. Byer, the driver of the car who left the scene, was later up for parole Will Osborn was asked if he approved of the man being released. W.O. ws reported to have suggested since the boy was only sixteen at the time of the robbery and had been in jail for some time he believed Byer should be released. Mr. O. became Byer's parole officer. Byer moved to Culver, reported to Osborn, even to bringing his bride-to-be in for Will's approval. The young man obtained a loan from State Exchange Bank and never defaulted a payment.

At the 1923 Annual Stockholders Meeting of State Exchange Bank, a new corporation was organized, to be known as State Exchange Finance Company (SEFCO). At this time, six hundred shares of SEFCO stock, $10 par value, were issued to bank stockholders in the same proportion as their stock in the State Exchange Bank. The assets of the SEFCO were at all times pledged to State Exchange Bank. The purpose of the new company was to afford development of specialized areas of insurance, real estate and financing.

In 1924, the bank purchased the lot to the north of the bank to enlarge the bank building. In early February of 1925, dismantling of the old building began. The bank continued operations in the Menser Building, across the street from the bank, until the grand opening of the renovated building one year later. The exterior of the building was of Bedford limestone and was trimmed in maroon brick. The original entrance located at the corner of Jefferson and Main was moved to face Main Street --as noted in the picture on display on the counter: The interior featured brass teller cages with Neapolitan marble counter tops, floors of mosaic tile, walnut woodwork. On the second floor were offices of Dr. Mackey; generally practitioner, Dr. Norris and Dr. Robinson; dentists, and the Masonic Lodge. Later, a tenant of the second floor was The Barnes Construction Company, which was to become the Easterday Construction Company. In the basement, a vault stored $29 a pound mint oil used as collateral for farm loans. Once, the mint oil leaked and the bank reeked of double-Mint gum for months. (Research of the first chewing gum is not in at this time.)

Before  After

Above, from left: the bank before remodeling...and after.

Below: the newly remodeled interior.

Interior 01 Interior 02 

In 1927, because of increased business, the bank announced it would be open from 7 to 9 p.m. the first evening of each month to serve customers. That practice was later changed, but the six days a week, 8 to 4 pm hours would stay in operation until the 70's when the bank began to close at noon on Saturday. Will's grand quote: "If we want to help them (the people) we have to treat them right and be there when they need us." And two other quotes that liken the bank to a doctor:” You don't need a doctor unless you're sick" and "You don't go to a doctor who you don't cure you."

There were 14 banks in Marshall County in 1927. Only seven remained in the great Depression of 1930. On March 6, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the Bank Holiday. That day, all state and national banks, trust companies and credit unions were permitted to only accept deposits in cash and accept checks only on new accounts. To open and carry on normal operations, banks had to be approved with assurance of capability by the State and Federal governments. In Indiana, Class A banks could remain open with no restrictions; Class B to open subject to restrictions and conditions; and Class C were not permitted to reopen.

State Exchange Bank was the only bank in Marshall County to be licensed by the State of Indiana to reopen as a Class A financial institution with no restrictions the first day following the nationwide bank moratorium. State Exchange Bank never borrowed, never restricted deposits, cut salaries or skipped a dividend during the Depression.

The bank's sound financial reputation drew the attention of unsavory visitors. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was once asked: "Why do you rob banks?" He replied, "Because that’s where the money is." As the late film actress Ruth Gordon was once asked how she felt about money. She answered: "It's right up there next to oxygen!"

On May 9, 1933, at 9:04 a.m., seven men staged a hold-up of the bank in a widely publicized robbery in which six robbers were captured after a chase west of Culver. The seventh was arrested in Chicago in late October. Of the $12,655.60 stolen, $9,375.61 was recovered.

THE STORY: That Monday morning a car came in from the North and stopped in front of the bank. Five men, masked, with one machine gun, and four sawed-off shotguns jumped from the car and went in the bank. Mr. Osborn had seen them from the front window and set off the alarm, which alerted the citizens of Culver. The alarm was ringing when they came in the door spraying bullets. Oliver C. Shilling (son of Schuyler Shilling) with gun in hand ran to the roof of the two-story shoe repair shop south of the bank, and from that vantage spot, shot between the eyes the driver seated in the get-away car. The second man waiting outside ducked for cover behind the car. Inside the bank, two of the robbers made the fourteen people in the bank lie down on the floor, one stood guard at the entrance, one in the middle of the lobby and another took Carl Adams to open the vault.

Robbery 01Robbery 02Robbery 03Robbery 04Robbery 05Robbery 06

Scenes from the 1933 robbery above, from left: Culver’s first banker, John Osborn, points to the bullet holes in Dr. Mackey’s car; Irene Bogardus, Wilma Smith, Martha Werner, Helen Kruman, and Lenore Medburn faced the bandits’ guns; Citizen publisher M.R. Robinson exhibits the special edition of the paper devoted to the robbery; Oliver C. Shilling demonstrates his shooting technique;  the car of H.H. Tallman, riddled with bullet holes, and the same vehicle after evidence of the gunshots was removed by D. L. Jones. More detail on the robbery can be found here, in True Detective Magazine's feature story on the robbery and capture effort.

The robbers took Carl Adams and a customer, Stephen Warren, with them as hostages placing them on the running board of the car. The wounded driver was shoved aside and another man drove. The new driver did not know the roads. In frustration, the two hostages were let go at the west edge of town and the car proceeded North and crossed State Road 10 going West. Dr. C. B. Mackey was following close behind in his car. And when the get-away car skidded from the road on a sharp curve, the men stopped the doctor and took over his car. The doctor administered to the wounded driver who later died. In unknown territory, the driver tried to cut the car through a woods west of Ober which was swampy. The stolen car bogged down in quick sand.

They had to abandon the car and scatter on foot. A large posse of Culver citizens, joined by men from Plymouth and North Judson and led by Col. Robert Rossow, commandant of the Culver Military Academy, encircled the robbers and all but one were caught. One of the men was in a tree, another submerged up to his neck in water, another man with the leader of the gang were well hidden with only their faces showing above the swamp water. Over half of the money was gathered throughout the woods with the largest sum found buried under a root on the bank of a creek. The trial for the robbers was held in Plymouth and ended with three robbers being sentenced 3 to 10 years and three sentenced to 2 S years. The seventh was arrested in Chicago, IL. In the inner circles of prison, it was said that John Dillinger cased the Culver Bank and believed it too difficult to get away. Apparently, the seven men did not know of their fellow criminal's observation.

Extortion Note

Some months after the robbery, Mr. Osborn received an extortion note from one of the robbers threatening death if W.O. didn't bring $20,000 in a bag to a particular location in Plymouth, Indiana. (A copy of this note is on the counter.) Daughter Francis Osborn Butler remembers her mother, her husbands another and father, who were visiting from Nebraska, and herself going to Plymouth and waited for news of the drop at a restaurant. While Will drove, Oliver Shilling was lying in the back of the car on the floor with a submachine gun. Four policemen were staked out in a house across from the alley. Osborn dropped the sack filled with fake bills beside a trash can. No one came to pick up the bag. But a lone car cruised by the site after midnight leading police to believe it was the robber who was tipped off to the stake-out.

Bank in 1930s

Above: The bank as it appeared in the 1930s; the Culver Public Library can be seen to the right.

In 1935, with recourses at $1,700,000 and deposits at a record high, the bank officials decided to remodel the interior of the Culver bank. The bank also added a cafeteria on the lower floor for employees and invited guests. The remodeling was completed in 1936 with modern equipment including an inter-office telephone system with central switchboard, new filing system and Eastman Kodak Recordak with a 16 mm. camera capable of processing 12 S checks per minute. The bank was becoming an automated sophisticate. Margaret Swanson joined the bank staff as comptroller. Hampton Boswell joined the insurance staff in December of that year. (father of Carolyn Kline/father-in-law of Bob Kline). 

After 1935 Remodel 01 After 1935 Remodel 02 After 1935 Remodel 03 After 1935 Remodel 04 After 1935 Remodel 05 After 1935 Remodel 06 After 1935 Remodel 07

After 1935 Remodel 08 After 1935 Remodel 09

Above, right to left: photos of the bank interior after the 1935 remodeling (these photos were taken in 1947). From left, the assembly room which included a state of the art theater-seating projection room; pantry in the kitchenette in the downstairs cafeteria area; the kitchenette itself; the hallway leading to the kitchen area and the stocked pantry; Glenda Sellers (seated) speaks to Alice Mikesell (standing) in the kitchenette area; stairs leading to the basement kitchen area; two shots of the main floor lobby.

The Culver bank also established a branch bank in Argos in 1937. As required by law, the new State Charter changed the title of the bank from State Exchange Bank to The State Exchange Bank. A. N. Butler, husband of Francis, son-in-law of W. O. Osborn and newly graduated from LU. Law school joined the bank as manager of the Argos branch.

Bank Ad 01Bank Ad 02

Above, left to right: a 1938 advertisement for the bank's Christmas Club; and a 1930s advertisement shows the bank decked out in Christmas finery.

In 1938, after much consultation with different insurance companies, Mr. Osborn met with Charles S. Miller, Tyner, Indiana who represented the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Ft. Wayne, and pioneered a plan to insure the lives of makers of loans, on a voluntary basis. The year-end statement showed deposits of $2,500,000 and capital accounts of $239,947.

In the 40's the bank continued its philosophy of the ‘30’s, which stressed the customer-depositor, should not be charged for service of the bank and the bank should take care of the legitimate needs of the community. Free checking, free napkins and advertising hand-outs were given to organizations as well as to individuals.

In the late 30's and early 40's, the growth of depositors necessitated an intensive Loan Policy to accommodate the ever increasing demand for money. The demand fostered another service to be pioneered by the bank-Field Representatives to call on farm customers. Clarence E. Bair, Sr. and O. T. Goss were the Field Men y 40's. In the early 70's, Edward Schultz, a member of our Antiquarian group, was a Field Representative.

That year, the October issue of "Burroughs Clearing House Magazine" featured an article on Country Bank Loans authored by W.O. Osborn. His innovative ideas were making news in banking circles throughout our country. In 1941, Will Osborn lectured at the Wisconsin State Bankers Association at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The bank Vice President spoke on the State Exchange Bank's interest in the youth programs and education of the young and its sponsorship of the 4-H Program in the trade area. One coveted award at the Argos 4-H Fair is the Grand Champion farm animal award. The State Exchange Bank policy was to buy the animal at a top dollar price.

The next few years during World War II the bank played an active role in supporting bond drives and promoting E-Bond sales.

Charlotte Jung

Above, right: Charlotte Jung, having joined the bank in 1946, is pictured with W.O. Osborn in 1947.

In February 1943, the Board of Directors approved purchase of the Farmers State Bank, LaPa2, Indiana, by State Exchange Finance Company. Deposits were $11,400,000, and Loans of over five million. In 1946, Charlotte Jung joined the bank staff as secretary to W. O. Osborn. Perhaps it is a good time to describe the Christmas parties the bank began in the late forties. Charlotte Jung was in charge of the Christmas Parties and had a delightfully different theme each year, which was carried out in table decorations and favors. No words can describe the events, but suffice it to say, all enjoyed the occasions.

In 1947, remodeling of the bank building provided added bookkeeping facilities on the lower floor and insurance offices on the second floor. Night depository facilities were provided at each bank during the 40's. Plans were announced to provide employees with life insurance ­another perk for employees.

Mr. Osborn had become a much-in-demand speaker. On October 16, 1947, when Mr. Osborn was sixty-two years old, he was the key note speaker at the prestigious International Business Machine 100°r6 Club Convention held in Endicott, New York. (I have brought the recording of Mr. Osborn's speech which has been taped by Bryan McCormack from a 78 RPM platter for this report.) On the counter, there is a photo of Mr. Watson, Jr. and his officers standing in front of the bank with bank officials and employees. The IBM executive staff were at the Culver bank for a meeting.

W.O. Osborn IBM Officials

Above, from left: W.O. Osborn at his desk at the bank in 1947; and a gathering of the IBM officials who visited the bank in 1947, including famed IBM chairman Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

In 1949, Fred E. Adams, grandson of Schuyler Shilling, nephew of W.O. Osborn joined the staff as a teller. Fred had served three years in the U.S. Navy in World War II and obtained his LU. Business School Degree. In 1950, a survey published by Purdue University on bank practices in agricultural loans complimented the policy and practices of The State Exchange Bank. The board of Directors was increased from six to nine members.

Wallace Clark  Zenith Crossgrove

Above, from left: Wallace Clark and Zenith Crossgrove, State Exchange Bank custodians, in 1947.

Staff 01 Staff 02 Staff 03 Staff 04 Staff 05 Staff 06Staff 07Staff 08

Above: various shots of the bank and its staff in 1947. From left: Clarence E. Bair with board member O.T. Goss; Charlotte Jung, Esther Bolinger, Bonnie Reed, and Wilma Snyder; the board of directors, including Lewis Overmyer, O.T. Goss, W.O. Osborn, W.L. Johnson, H.E. Medbourn, Hampton Boswell, A.N. Butler, and Carl Adams.  These photos come from the bank's 1947 photo book and program. Click here to see the entire book.

S .C. Shilling, President and Founder of the bank, passed away on September 13, 1951, at the age of 89. On September 18, 1951, W. O. Osborn was elected President of The State Exchange Bank, Farmers State Bank and State Exchange Finance Company. Carl M. Adams was named Cashier and Oliver C. Shilling, Riverside, California, was named Director to succeed his father. The statement showed combined resources of $19,549,835. Surplus was increased to $500,000.

In 1951, the bank initiated the first of the annual Senior Class Educational Tours for five county high schools, which featured bus trips to Chicago to tour the Board of Trade, Federal Reserve Bank, and Continental Illinois National Bank.

In 1953, Fred Adams left the bank to own and manage the Adams Men and Boys Wear Clothing Store in Culver.

In July, 1953, Farmers State Bank, Lapaz, Indiana, moved into a newly constructed bank building.

W. O. Osborn presented a series of lectures at the Fourth Annual School of Public Relations at the University of Missouri in 1953.

In 1956, the bank announced the purchase of the lots on the block past the library and plans were announced for major rehabilitation, remodeling, and redecorating of the Culver building starting in January of 1957. A 60-car parking lot was planned for the west side of the Culver building, and more space was to be added for bookkeeping, cafeteria and kitchen, offices, drive-up windows and central air conditioning. Argos was being revitalized and remodeled at the same time. The exterior was modernized and the brass teller cages were replaced with open stations.

Before Remodeling Remodeling Article After Remodeling

Left to right: The State Exchange Bank in the 1950s, before the remodeling; a 1956 Culver Citizen article detailing the planned remodeling of the bank; and the bank after its 1957 remodeling project.

Fred Adams was asked and returned to the bank to take the position of Vice President-Loan and Advertising Officer. 

Library Bank Book

Above: The State Exchange Bank's 1960 book issued to the Culver Public Library.

Money Bag

Money bag from the State Exchange Bank, an undated item from the Kim Amond collection.

Two Open House receptions at the newly remodeled bank buildings at Argos and Culver, attracting hundreds of visitors. On June 12, 1958. Among other guests were 200 visiting bankers. Buses transported visitors between Argos and Culver to tour the bank buildings. A buffet lunch was served at the Culver Bank.

An annual $250 college scholarships for four years was established for seniors of the five surrounding county high schools and a $1,600 scholarship to Culver Military Academy.

The State Exchange Bank built a new facility at the north edge of Plymouth in the early 60's. Resources exceeded the 50 million dollar mark. A proposal to assist the Culver Community School Building Corporation in a financial crisis involving construction cost of a new high school building in Culver, was approved with the bank purchasing $1,900,000 of bonds.

W.O. Osborn

Above: W.O. Osborn at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Plymouth branch of the bank, early 1960s.

To provide for needed expansion at Culver, remodeling called for using the entire second floor of the building. The Masonic Lodge, which had occupied quarters on the second floor of the bank building since 1907, moved across Main Street to the L.P. Building. Expansion included bookkeeping space on the second floor, new quarters for SEFCO and Insurance offices on the second floor and remodeling of first floor offices.

The bank now boasted three branches one in Argos, one in Lapaz and one in Plymouth. lnterest rates spiraled to record high levels reflecting a tight money flow in late 1968 through 1971 and in that year, President Nixon issued a national price-wage freeze to fight inflation. Total combined resources were $63,810,867.

In 1972, John J. Deery came to the bank as Assistant Vice President. A Carl M. Adams, Sr. retired as Cashier after S4 years of active service. With the new branches, it was impossible for all of the employees to know each other- important in the bank's caring-family relationships. Marcia Adams suggested and, with permission from the directors, published a house organ named "News notes" with the slogan, "Work Brings People together, News Brings Friends Together" The paper, told about the lives of bank employees, births, deaths, marriages, promotions. It was published once a month from 1975 to 1980. Samples of the paper are on the counter.

Custodian J.C. Beck

Above: Custodian J.C. Beck in the 1970s.

In 1975, Mr. Osborn was honored by the town on his 90th birthday. The grand opening of the Senior Citizen Osborn House was also on that festive day.

1978 Celebration 01  1978 Celebration 02

Left: images from the 1975 celebration honoring W.O. Osborn on his 90th birthday. Pictured is Osborn and his wife with former Indiana Governor Otis Bowen, and a newspaper article commemorating the occasion.

In November of 1976, a brochure was published commemorating the 75th anniversary of The State Exchange Bank. Combined resources of the four banks were $98,588,000. Hampton Boswell retired in 1976 after forty- years of service.

Ground was broken for a new bank at Bremen in October of 1977, to be a branch of Farmers State Bank, LaPaz.

Minnie Shilling Osborn

 Minnie Shilling Osborn died in 1977 (she is pictured above).

In 1977, the farm economy was at a high level. Reports showed that the average value of Indiana farm land was $1,154 per acre. In May of 1978, deposits hit a new high of $95,949,019 with total resources of $100,014 000.

Open house was held in August marking the completion of the new Farmers State Bank, at Bremen, located at the corner of Indiana 331 and High Road. In September, scholarships to county high school students were increased to $500 a year and the CMA scholarship was increased to $ 2,000.

1981 Bank Article

For the first time in history, in October of 1981, service charges were placed on checking accounts. The Carter Administration's decisions abroad affected the farmers' abroad affected the farmer's grain abroad, affected the farmer grain prices. The farmer’s demise was to recall one of Mr. Osborn's sayings. "We're built with the earth as our foundation, not figures and promises. Farmers have played an important role" (in the bank's history-end of quote.) When farmers have hard times, they can't pay back their loans-"prime the pump" practice was essential to their solvency. The farmers, hurt-the bank hurts.

A new All Savers Certificate of Deposit was authorized. On December 17, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Department of Financial Institutions. 

At the December Directors' meeting, a plan was approved for a special mortgage loan promotion to try to boost the sluggish economy in the area.

W.O. Osborn chairman Emeritus, died at his home on December 26, 1981. It was the end of an era for The State Exchange Bank. In spring of 1982, Carl M. Adams died at home.

In September, 1982, the directors accepted the resignation of John Deery and named Allen Cummins, formerly the manager of the Farmers State Bank, LaPaz, was named Executive Vice President of The State Exchange Bank. In October a Merger Application was filed for the proposed merger of The State Exchange Bank and Farmers State Bank. 

On December 30, 1982, SEFCO filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Due to the bank's close association with SEFCO through the years, this move caused problems for the bank. The proposed merger wasn't accomplished before depositors pulled their money because of rumors and suppositions.

During the Directors' Meeting scheduled for January 10, 1983, the Marshall County Sheriff interrupted the meeting with news that Fred Adams, President and Chief Executive Officer, had taken his life in a wooded area near Culver Military Academy.

Directors employed the legal firm of Krieg DeVault Alexander and Capehart as Special Counsel to make an independent study of the relationship between the State Exchange Bank and State Exchange finance Company.

Due to increased costs, after some forty years, the cafeteria service for employees was discontinued.

On September 30, 1983, a definitive agreement was signed by the Bank and SEFCO, which would form the basis of SEFCO's Plan of Reorganization. The plan basically provided that as much of their principal and interest as possible be returned to the note holders and creditors of SEFCO (later, after lawyer fees, those note holders and creditors would be paid over 50% of the debt owed.) The plan further resolved to eliminate the years of litigation that could occur without a settlement, and to merge the Farmers State Bank with The State Exchange Bank.

The Directors, attorneys and others began another year of frustration in ironing out all the details of the Plan and filing it with the Court, until finally, on January 24, 1995, it was consummated and NorCen Bank was born of the merger of The State Exchange Bank and Farmers State Bank. Bryce Burton was elected as the first Chairman of the Board of NorCen Bank.

(This history of The State Exchange Bank was compiled by Charlotte J. Jung, Senior Vice President, in 1986, added to by Marcia P. Adams in 1998 and edited by Harvey Firari in 1998).