"The people of West Central Ohio have been very loyal to our bank through the years. As we have grown and added services, more individuals and businesses have also come to appreciate the advantages our personal attention provides. I continue to believe that we are on the leading edge of banking technology in our region, and that means better service and greater access for our customers."
-J. Michael Romey, Chairman of the Board/CEO
On January 31, 1920, the Citizens National Bank opened its doors for the first time in Bluffton, Ohio, and offered all new customers an apple in appreciation for stopping by. A review of the books from 1920 indicates that the bank began with $50,000 in capital and approximately four employees. Now, 99 years later, we have expanded our offices to Celina, Defiance, Elida, Findlay, Lima, Springfield, Toledo and Van Wert. We currently employ about 160 people and serve customers in eleven primary counties: Allen, Hancock, Putnam, Hardin, Auglaize, Mercer, Van Wert, Paulding, Clark, Defiance and Lucas.
Thanks to a strong economy and recent tax cuts, Citizens National Bank's 2018 earnings reached another record level. Our net income was a record-breaking $16.1 million and return on equity finished the year at 21.01%. Total assets grew by $41 million, ending the year at $858 million.
We've recently added new products which aid our customers in managing their finances. Credit Sense integrates with online and mobile banking and allows customers to monitor their credit score every time they log in. We introduced Transfer Now which offers the opportunity for CNB customers to transfer money from external accounts into their CNB checking or savings. We also now offer Mobile Wallets, allowing all CNB credit and debit cards to be added to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay to make it easy to pay for items with just your phone.
As we move forward into 2019, we invite you to partner with Citizens National Bank for your financial needs. We offer accounts that feature unlimited free ATM usage and competitive interest rates. We also offer educational opportunities through our newsletters and our social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, as well as live events such as our Economic Forecast and a new series of Lunch and Learns we're launching this year. To learn more about any of these opportunities, simply browse our website or follow us on any of our social media channels.
Citizens National Bank is consistently rated high for performance and stability. We are currently rated a 5 Star Bank by both Bauer Financial and Bankrate.com.
Citizens has a unique notoriety as being one of the banks that John Dillinger robbed in 1933. History has it that on August 14, 1933, John Dillinger and his gang came to Bluffton, stole $6,000 from The Citizens National Bank, and exited the bank, guns blazing (amazingly no one was injured) as they made their escape to the north.
In October of that year, John Dillinger was brought back to Ohio and held in the Lima jail (12 miles south of Bluffton) to stand trial for the Bluffton bank robbery. On October 12, Dillinger's "gang" came into the jail claiming they were officers from Indiana and they were taking Dillinger back to stand trial there. When Sheriff Jesse Sarber asked for their credentials, they opened fire on Sarber, killing him and breaking Dillinger out of jail.
Dillinger was one of the most publicized criminals of the 20th Century. On July 22, 1934, however, Dillinger was brought down by "The Lady in Red" when he was killed by federal agents and police as he left a Chicago movie house.
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