Peoples Bank and Trust, located at 101 S. Main St. in McPherson, will celebrate 120 years in business with a Chamber Coffee at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 1.

Jen Bonham, vice president of marketing at Peoples Bank and Trust, said Craft Coffee will be on site, making beverages. Cake, balloons and giveaways are also scheduled for the event.

“We’ve really been trying to celebrate all year long,” Bonham said. “We have literally been on this corner for 120 years.”

Peoples State Bank was opened on Nov. 1, 1898, by F.A. and Chauncey Vaniman.

“We’ve always been a family-owned bank,” Bonham said. “The family has changed over the years, but we’ve remained a part of the community.”

The bank shared its building with Farmers Alliance, and took it over completely when Farmers Alliance purchased and moved into what was the Calloway Hardware Store across the street in 1903.

Peoples Bank and Trust has been involved in several incidents of note, including the financial panic of 1907. Money had to be shipped in from Kansas City to meet the customer demand, and the bank’s vault — which was made of brick in those days — required extra protection.

“Two guys slept with their rifles here at the bank, guarding the money,” Bonham said. 

On March 6, 1930, three men came into the bank around noon and took money from the employees at gunpoint.

When a high school student came into the bank as it was being robbed, she was ordered to lie down on the floor. The student chose to let out a loud scream, which startled the robbers into leaving with as much as they could carry — about $2,500 in silver and $1,500 in currency. They were found near Wellington and the silver was recovered.

The bank used to own the McPherson Opera House, but relinquished the deed in 1986.

“We donated it back to the volunteers to save it,” Bonham said. 

The bank, which is owned by Dennis, Mark and Kent Houghton, was renamed Peoples Bank and Trust in 1998.

In 2000, Peoples Bank and Trust began to expand into other communities around Reno and McPherson counties and currently has 12 locations.

‘What sets us apart is we do try stay involved in our community and meet the needs of that community,” Bonham said. 

Each Peoples Bank and Trust site is customized to serve the needs of its customers.

“We have a location in Yoder and it looks much different than the location in McPherson,” Bonham said. 

The Peoples Bank and Trust branch in Yoder offers a hitching post and computer kiosk with Internet access to accommodate its Amish customers.

Peoples Bank and Trust locations are open several days a week at The Cedars and Mennonite Friendship Communities and are primarily staffed by the bank’s former employees.

“A lot of those customers they know, because they’ve built relationships with them here,” Bonham said. “Now, they’re able to see them out there.”

Peoples Bank and Trust offers traditional personal and business account services as well as modern programs such as online banking and Automated Clearing House transactions.

“It’s part of our mission to be kind of the early adopters of technology,” Bonham said. “Mobile banking is the biggest trend that we’re seeing.”

The bank is looking to expand its online services to assist those who work second or third shifts.

“With people not working in our doors as often, how do we continue to meet their needs? It’s going to be through (mobile banking),” Bonham said.

Peoples Bank and Trust employs 130 people.

“We have employees — several — who have been here for 40 years,” Bonham said. “...You want to be here. It’s different. You have fun at work because that’s just the environment we create.”

Peoples Bank and Trust will also host its annual Christmas open house on Dec. 13.

For more information about Peoples Bank and Trust, visit www.peoplesbankonline.com or call 620-241-2100.

 

Contact Patricia Middleton by email at pmiddleton@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.