Over one hundred years ago a group of enterprising Oklahoma Territory pioneers decided that their community of Britton needed a bank. With a $10,000 capital contribution, the bank was chartered on April 29, 1907, as the North Oklahoma State Bank. The Certificate of Incorporation was issued by Charles H. Filson, Secretary of Oklahoma Territory. On the same day, Herbert H. Smock, Territorial Bank Commissioner, issued a Certificate of Authority to the North Oklahoma State Bank of Britton to transact a general banking business within the Territory of Oklahoma. The bank was incorporated with 5 directors and 12 shareholders.
When the bank opened for business on May 1, 1907, the first officers were Will L. Bradford, President; E.M. Christopher, Vice President; and C.E. Christopher, Cashier. At the close of the first day's business, the bank had five depositors and a total of $862.90 in deposits. The first loan was made on the 9th of May 1907 to a man by the name of Nesbitt for $237.95. On the 16th of November in that same year, Oklahoma became the 46th state. Since the bank's inception in 1907, business has been conducted at its original location of 1000 West Britton Road.
The North Oklahoma State Bank eventually changed its name to the First National Bank of Britton and became a member of the Federal Reserve System. In June 1922, the bank had capital of $25,000 and $2,500 surplus. At the time of the change the total deposits just exceeded $136,000. The bank grew steadily from its incorporation while deposits increased from $136,000 to over $1,500,000.
The bank has been at its present location since 1907. The first facility was a red brick building with high arched windows on the front and sides. In 1939, the directors felt that the old building was inadequate to serve the needs of the community so Cuthbert Cut Stone Company was contracted to construct a building of Carthage stone. The bank continued to operate during the construction of the new building and was open every day to serve the needs of its customers.
The bank has always been actively involved with community enterprises. It participated extensively to help the country's financial program in World War I and made every effort to assist the government during World War II. The effects of the second war necessitated a change in the personnel of the bank and many job vacancies were filled by women.
Bill Richardson, the present owner, acquired the bank in 1974. Management began planning new goals for the future, expanding into new areas of Oklahoma City.
The bank converted to a state charter in 1979 and shortened its name to First Bank of Britton. To further these future goals, the bank's name was changed to its current title of First Enterprise Bank on November 27th, 1984. And, in August 1985, a second office was opened at 3801 N.W. 122nd Street. The bank operated as a two-office institution until the merger with the former Grant Square Bank and Trust in January 1992. It was also owned by Mr. Richardson and was located at 2115 S.W. 44th Street. In July 1997, First Enterprise Bank opened a fourth location at N.W. 39th and Meridian.
"The bank is currently operating its four-office company with total assets of over $150 million and employing 65 people", states Darrell J. Klimeck, the current President and CEO. "We are extremely proud, not only to have survived two World Wars, innumerable conflicts, the Great Depression, and many recessions, but also to have been quite successful over the last 100 years." According to Mr. Klimeck, much of First Enterprise Bank's success is attributed to its long-term core depositors with over 500 accounts that have been with the bank since the 1960s and earlier. "These people are not just loyal customers," Mr. Klimeck insists, "they are our backbone and to them we are extremely grateful. In fact, all of our customers deserve special thanks."
As an unknown author wrote of the bank on February 5th, 1945: "A bank's growth is dependent upon the faith the customers have in the integrity of its officers; but it is likewise true that the success of an institution is due to the faithfulness and integrity of its customers." We are proud to have been a part and in our small way contributed to the financial growth of the community.
In April 2007 First Enterprise Bank celebrated 100 years of continuous service at the same location, in Britton, Oklahoma.