In the early 1900s, there were banks in all the small towns of Oconee County…Bishop, Bogart, Eastville, Farmington and Watkinsville. When the Great Depression came along in 1929, all of those banks failed 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 4 full-service financial centers located in Oconee County, Athens-Clarke County, and Gwinnett County, as well as a Corporate Headquarters located on Main Street in the heart of Watkinsville. In June 2021, the Wells Family Community Room was dedicated at the Headquarters facility. H. Mell Wells served as President of Oconee State Bank from 1979 until 1986, and his family continues serving in various capacities across the bank today. As a visionary, Mr. Wells felt focusing on employees, their continuing education, and the use of technology would provide unparalleled service to customers. The Corporate Headquarters houses the offices of bank wide support staff including Human Resources and Culture, Marketing, Retail Administration, IT and Operations, Loan Operations, and Finance, as well as the offices of the Executive Leadership Team. 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.
To be essential to the lives, businesses, and
Create remarkable experiences that significantly mark the lives of others.
Stewardship: The privilege and responsibility of wisely shepherding our resources
Unity: Believing the best in, Expecting the best from, Seeking the best for, and Telling the best about each other
Collaboration: A culture of teamwork
Excellence: Exceptional performance with a long-term perspective
Service: Consistently creating remarkable service experiences for our customers
Solutions: Empowering our team members to deliver solutions