In 1884, Sumner Pierce (pictured), a businessman originally from New York who had moved to Kansas in 1879, organized the Central Kansas Bank with capital of $50,000. When it opened October 1, 1884, the bank provided a fire-proof vault, a burglar-proof safe, and a time lock to secure deposits.
In 1889, bank management decided to change from a state bank to a national bank in order to provide depositors the greater safety offered by a national bank, as national banks were required to have more capital to cover depositors. In 1890, the Comptroller of the Currency approved the change, and the bank name was changed to Central National Bank. Sumner Pierce served as president of Central National Bank from 1890 to 1914.
In 1915, Arthur Dale Jellison (pictured at left) bought controlling interest in the Central National Bank from the Sumner Pierce Estate. Jellison convinced Edward W. Rolfs, his secretary at Wilson State Bank, and Herbert W. Jacobs, a salesman with Hall Lithographing Company, to join the Central National Bank.
A.D. Jellison served as President of Central National Bank from 1915-1920 and as Chairman of the Board from 1921-1966. He was then elevated to Honorary Chairman of the Board and served three more years in that capacity. Jellison's 54 years of dedicated service to Central National Bank started the legacy of success that continues today. His vision for the bank and his commitment to the community were especially notable.
In addition to his bank duties, Jellison was President of the Jellison Trust Company, Military State Bank, Bank of Funston at Camp Funston, Bankers Cattle Loan and Farm Mortgage Company of Boston, and a board member of Farmers and Bankers Insurance Company of Wichita. He founded the Jellison Benevolent Society, served as secretary of the George Smith Public Library for 20 years, and was Chairman of the Geary County Red Cross Chapter. He was trustee of the College of Emporia for 15 years, and one of the organizers of the Kansas State 4-H Foundation and Rock Springs Ranch.
In 1909, construction started on a new bank building at the corner of Eighth Street and Washington in Junction City. During November of 1910, Central National Bank began operations in this new building. This building continues to be used as a Junction City Central National Bank location today. Pictured at right is the bank at this location circa 1950
When Times Get Tough, The Tough Get Tougher
Strength has been one of the mainstays of Central National Bank through its history, even in trying times. The 1930's found the country in the depth of the Great Depression, and 8,300 banks had failed by 1933. Central National Bank was the only bank in Junction City permitted to reopen following the bank holiday declared by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 5, 1933.
The desperate times of the 1930s led to new banking regulations. Congress removed the authority of National Banks to issue currency, and authorized a national currency to be printed by the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving. On December 12, 1934, the Central National Bank Board of Directors pledged $75,000 of U.S. Consols to support the outstanding issuance of currency--one of their final actions after half a century of currency transactions. The Central National Bank of Junction City, Kansas, issued bills in $5, $50, and $100 denominations.
Agriculture was the foundation of the local economy when Central National Bank was founded in Junction City in 1884. The bank is proud of its long tradition of service to the farmers and ranchers who make Kansas one of the strongest ag production states in the United States. The bank's commitment to agriculture continues today, and Central National Bank has the most experienced and knowledgeable ag lending staff in the state.
The Cutting Edge
In the early 1960s, new and revolutionary equipment came into widespread use in the banking industry. The computer's great capacity to store, retrieve, and analyze information freed bank personnel from many tasks that had previously been performed with pen and adding machine. Central National Bank began computerized check processing and record keeping in 1966; the check encoding was done within the bank, while the actual computer processing was contracted out. In 1975, Central National obtained an IBM computer that enabled all processing to be done "in-house". Central National Bank has remained on the forefront of technological innovation since this time and continues to provide customers with sophisticated products and services.
A by-product of the computer revolution was the development of "self service" banking using customer activated automated teller machines. Junction City's first ATMs were installed in 1978 when Central purchased two machines. Today the Central organization provides 70+ ATMs across Kansas for customer convenience.
A Family Tradition
When Edward W. Rolfs came to the Central National Bank in 1915, he began an association with the bank that continues today for the Rolfs family. E.W. Rolfs served as bank president from July 15, 1959 until January of 1967 when his son, E.J. Rolfs, took over as president. E.J. Rolfs now serves as Chairman Emeritus of the bank, and his son, E.C. Rolfs, has assumed the responsibility of CEO.
The Central National Bank of Junction City organized a one bank holding company, Central of Kansas, Inc., on February 10, 1983. Since this time, Central National Bank has expanded to serve 22 communities in the states of Kansas and Nebraska.
Central National Bank has grown from having one location in Junction City, Kansas, to become one of the states' strongest banks, with branches in 22 communities. This growth in size has allowed Central National Bank to provide a wide array of valuable products and services that are delivered with leading technology, such as online banking and convenient mobile apps. Best of all, these convenient channels are combined with personal, local solutions from community-minded bankers for those times when you need expert advice.
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