History of Oconee State Bank
In the early 1900s, there were banks in all the small towns of Oconee County Bishop, Bogart, Eastville, Farmington and Watkinsville. When the Depression came along in 1929, all the banks went broke and Oconee County was without a bank for the next 30 years. Farmers and small merchants had to travel to Athens for their banking needs.
In 1958, a group of community leaders recognized the need for a bank in Oconee County and started a process of getting the necessary approval for a state chartered community bank. In 1959, they announced that the FDIC had approved a community bank and Oconee State Bank opened its doors for business on February 1, 1960 with 3 employees and a small corner office on Main Street in downtown Watkinsville.
Because the local people had lost money in banks that went broke, it was important for the founders to promote the bank as a "locally-owned bank" that would be owned by local citizens who purchased original shares of stock. Thus, it would be a true community bank. One of the strengths of the bank was that it knew its customers and focused on serving the community as well as taking care of its employees and customers.
Today, Oconee State Bank has 3 full-service branches located in Oconee County, GA as well as a web site which serves as an "Internet Branch." In December 2004, the H. Mell Wells Operations Center and Rosella E. Hansford Learning Center were dedicated. Mr. Wells served as President of Oconee State Bank from 1979 until 1986. As a visionary, he felt focusing on employees, their continuing education, and the use of technology would provide unparalleled service to customers. Mrs. Hansford was one of the first employees of the Bank and served as the Bank's trainer for years. This facility houses the offices of bank wide support staff including Human Resources, Education Department, Marketing, Retail Administration, IT and Operations, Loan Operations, Finance and the Personal Banking Center.
The vision of the founders continues today. We are proud to provide an unparalleled commitment to personalized service, value-added products, and a deep sense of responsibility to the communities we serve. We truly understand what community banking is all about.