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Oconee State Bank, Watkinsville, GA

History & Vision


Our History

historic bank pictureIn 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.

historic bank pictureBecause 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. 

Our Present and Future

Today, Oconee State Bank has 5 full-service financial centers located in Oconee County, Athens-Clarke County, Gwinnett County, Macon-Bibb County, and Elbert 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

 communities we serve.


Create remarkable experiences that significantly mark the lives of others.


We value….

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

Community: Partnering with our communities through local ownership, involvement and decision-making

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 

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