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History

History of the Bank

The original Warba State Bank was chartered on June 14, 1914.  Claude C. Wilcox joined the Warba State Bank in 1918, and purchased it in 1920. Claude and his wife, the former Cecilia Westurn, were the only employees. In the fall of 1936, the charter of the Warba State Bank was changed to the Grand Rapids State Bank and the bank was moved to Grand Rapids, the Itasca County seat.  At the time of the move, bank assets were $124,500. After temporarily working in a storefront in the Kenler building, Claude moved the bank into its new Grand Rapids location on First Avenue Northwest, a building which was approximately 25 by 50 feet.

Following five years of service in the U.S. Navy, Claude's son, Clair C. Wilcox, joined the bank in March 1947. At that time, total assets were $2,000,000.  A planned expansion was postponed due to the death of Claude in January 1950. In 1953, an additional 25-foot expansion was added. Clair built the new Downtown Office and the bank moved into its new home on First Avenue Northwest north of the U.S. Post Office on August 24, 1970.  At the time of the move, total assets were $14,000,000.

Clair's sons, Steven and Craig, joined the bank in the early 1970s with the building of the new main bank facility.  Steve and Craig were actively involved in community activities which helped generate steady growth for the bank, and the bank's assets grew to over $200,000,000. Back when life was simpler, Clair and Craig--while on their lunch break one day--secured the purchase of the property at the intersection of Pokegama Avenue and Golf Course Road now occupied by the Pokegama Office.  Craig retired from the organization in 2000.  The Financial Services Center was added in 1994 and initially housed the Grand Rapids State Agency. The building was expanded in 2001 to include brokerage services, card services, Club Grand and other functions.

Steve's eldest son, Noah, joined the bank and senior management in 1999 and became the fourth generation to lead the bank in 2007 when he assumed the role of President and CEO.  During his tenure, Noah has been instrumental in leveraging technology to create operational efficiencies and delivery conveniences for bank customers.  Noah re-branded the family business and restructured some of the delivery methods.  Under his direction, internet banking was brought to the customer base in 2000, electronic statements were made available in 2004 and remote deposit in 2007.  Noah worked to re-align several internal reporting lines to create a more responsive environment for customers.  Bank management is focused heavily on providing superior service to our customers.

Three generations of the Wilcox family continue to work at Grand Rapids State Bank.  In addition to Noah's leadership as president and CEO, Clair continues his active service with the bank, a performance record that began in 1947, while Steve has been involved in community banking since July 1971 and serves as board chairman.