A century ago, a group of men gathered in the county seat of Union, West Virginia, and in unassuming circumstances joined forces to create a new banking facility, The Bank of Monroe
The Certificate of Incorporation for the bank, still on display in the office of the bank president, notes that capital stock of $25,000 was subscribed at the time of the bank’s establishment. The bank’s first home was at the same Main Street corner as it is today, in a structure built in 1812.
One of the bank’s founders, the Honorable Marcellus J. Kester, was a guiding force as president of the institution from the first day that The Bank of Monroe opened for business, on January 28, 1904, until his death more than nine years later, in April 1913 at the age of 82.
The Bank of Union, chartered in 1873, turned over its assets to The Bank of Monroe in the first decade of the 20th century.
In June 1923, verbal agreement and a handshake by the president of Farmers Banking Company resulted in its being taken over by The Bank of Monroe. Leading The Bank of Monroe from 1913 to 1928 was C.E. Lynch. He was followed by H.S. Ellison (1929-50), J.R. McCoy (1951-80), and Ralph Mann (1980-present).
Through the decades, The Bank of Monroe has been a partner with the citizens of southeastern West Virginia through two world wars, the Great Depression, recessions—and has joined in celebrating good economic times as well.
The bank’s commitment to assisting the community includes a wide range of activities. It was one of the first sponsors of the annual Farmer’s Day celebration, and has been a catalyst for literally dozens of business startups and the improvement of hundreds of homes and properties. Along with the steady growth of the bank’s business has been the necessary growth of the company’s physical assets. The bank building which has served for so many years was completely razed and replaced with a new structure in 1965, which remains as the bank’s primary location and headquarters.
Indeed, the bank has come a long way from this entry from the first meeting of the stockholders on November 12, 1903. The most recent major capital investment, a full-service branch near Lewisburg, Greenbrier County was opened in 2002 and has shown very encouraging growth.
Over one hundred years after its founding, the Bank of Monroe continues to function as an independent community banking institution with sound and prudent management. In order to position itself most advantageously in today’s banking environment, the corporation re-formed itself in 1998 as Union Bankshares, Incorporated, retaining the name of The Bank of Monroe for its operations as a wholly owned subsidiary.
As to the future, The Bank of Monroe will carefully build upon its successful foundations, providing the highest quality of banking services. Above all, the decisions regarding the future of the bank will be made always with the intent to preserve and increase its longstanding tradition of “Strength, Security, and Service.”