Chartered on May 1, 1900 as the First National Bank of Celeste, our bank has enjoyed tremendous stability coupled with very steady growth and success. In 1986, the bank was converted to a state charter and the name changed to The First Bank of Celeste. During the 100 plus years of our existence, there have only been four Presidents of the bank. The bank's founder, M. K. Harrell served in that capacity until 1913. S. R. Granberry became President and CEO in 1913, a position he held for 50 years until 1963 when his son, Albert Granberry, succeeded him as President. In 1981 Bob Barnard, who was serving as Senior Vice-President for the Granberry family, became part of a new ownership group headed by Dallas banker William F. Stevens and was named the fourth President of the bank. A 1972 graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Agriculture Economics, Mr. Barnard continues to serve in that capacity today.
The bank operated at the original location until 1978 when a new building one block west of the old bank was moved into. Expanded in 1984, this building continues to serve the bank well today.
The bank has always been soundly and conservatively managed as indicated by its ability to withstand "The Great Depression" which began in 1929. This tradition continued under the guidance of President and CEO Bob Barnard, Senior Vice President David Kent and Chairman of the Board, Williams F. Stevens during the banking and Savings & Loan crisis of the 1980's and very early 1990's. During this volatile time, which included hundreds of Savings & Loan and bank failures throughout the nation and Texas, The First Bank of Celeste continued to prosper with steady growth and solid returns for its shareholders. Many banks in Texas experienced significant problems related to poor loans and minimal profit margins which resulted in problems with both Federal and State regulators. However, First Bank of Celeste avoided these pitfalls and moved forward toward the beginning of the twenty-first century with stable management and employee stability.
Many factors have contributed to the success and stability of the bank throughout its history. Perhaps the most important are continuity of management and loyal, well-trained employees who have been truly concerned with the needs of all customers of the bank.