Name change honors bank’s founding family

PAXTON — Later this year, the First National Bank in Paxton will merge with its sister bank in Cissna Park to become The Frederick Community Bank.

The merger will mean both the First National Bank in Paxton and Cissna Park State Bank will be under one name.

“We’re going to be one bank serving both communities,” said Justin Swan, president of First National Bank. “We’ll have a new name but the same great employees, and we will continue our mission of providing top-quality banking services to everyone in the Paxton community.”

The merger is tentatively scheduled to take place in late August or early September, Swan said.

It will hopefully help streamline the banks’ operations, Swan said.

“The purpose of the merger, from both banks’ standpoint, is that we’ve operated similarly over the years, but each bank kind of specializes in their own particular area,” Swan said. “For example, First National in Paxton specializes in home loans and consumer types of financing more so than Cissna. We’ve also developed a wealth-management division (at First National). Meanwhile, Cissna has concentrated more on the ag side of things.

“We think that by merging them, we can streamline our processes and share in each other’s expertise, which will benefit both communities better.”

The local directors from each bank will be combined to form one board, Swan said. The directors will continue to make local loan decisions, he added.

Swan said that with the merger, “the combined legal lending limit will increase sharply, allowing more lending capacity in each community.”

Swan added that technological resources will be enhanced and streamlined to provide “excellent customer services for the needs of the 21st Century.”

Also, services such as leasing, home mortgage lending and wealth management that previously were only available in one location will now be available to all customers of the Paxton and Cissna Park banks.

The Paxton bank will remain downtown at 106 N. Market St. and continue to offer drive-up services just across the street. The Cissna Park bank is located at 101 W. Church St.

The impending merger honors the legacy of Sherman Frederick, who founded the First National Bank in Paxton in 1933 with his son, David Arthur Frederick, and other area business leaders. The Frederick family had been farmers in Clarence in eastern Ford County since the 1890s and had already established deep roots in the surrounding communities.

First National Bank in Paxton was founded when another First National Bank in town failed. The Fredericks and other investors raised $50,000 in capital to re-open the bank. The original directors of the First National Bank in Paxton — H.P. Larson, W.A. Kreitzer, C.G. Bobo, A.R. Sheldon and G.M. Lundahl, along with the Fredericks — were truly stalwarts in Paxton and beyond.

Sherman Frederick also founded the Clarence State Bank in 1920. There, David Arthur Frederick, known as “Art,” rose to become president of the bank after beginning as an assistant cashier. Sherman Frederick ran the bank out of the Frederick Grain Elevator in Clarence until the Frederick family moved the business to Cissna Park in 1941 and the name was changed to the Cissna Park State Bank.

In 1987, the First National Bank in Paxton and the Cissna Park State Bank were combined to form Agricultural Banking Corp., a name selected to represent the agricultural roots of the two institutions. Over the past 30 years, the two banks have shared many resources, relying on the local expertise of both banks to improve services to both communities.

“The merger of First National Bank in Paxton with Cissna Park State Bank will result in a stronger institution fully prepared to deliver top-quality financial services to its customers in both communities,” Swan said.


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