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Thu., Aug. 28
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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Hammond bank celebrates 100 years

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HAMMOND – The Citizens National Bank of Hammond is celebrating its 100th year in business this year and, as any staff member will tell you, that is no small feat.

As the smallest bank in the area and the second smallest bank in New York state, Citizens National Bank has outlasted many other banks that have gone into and out of business over the years, according to President, CEO and CFO Schelin M. Crosby.

“I think it’s our location,” Wayne K. Storie, chairman of the board of directors, said Thursday. “We’re 10 miles from any bank. Employees and stockholders work really hard to keep the bank in town.”

The bank has moved once, when a fire burned down the original location across the street. The building at 19 Main St. was opened in 1929, within a year after the fire, and has remained there for the past 83 years. The bank also has a location in Morristown.

“A lot of it is convenience,” Mrs. Crosby said. “We know our customers. A lot of them don’t want to deal with voice automation. They want to talk to a real person. Decisions are made right there. We provide immediate service and keep all mortgages in house.”

Mr. Storie said the board remains much as it has been for the 31 years he has been a director. The bank is stock-owned, with the majority of its 62 stockholders living locally.

The Hammond Museum dedicated its 2012 calendar to the bank in honor of the 100-year milestone.

“It’s an important part of the community,” Mr. Storie said. “We’ve received numerous offers to merge or be purchased by another bank.” He said the board is constantly pressured by other banks. “It’s tough to stay independent,” he said. “There will always be a bigger bank. But the board agrees it’s best we stay independent; that way we can provide the best service to our community.”

The bank is involved in a number of community activities, such as sponsoring a hole in the Morristown teachers golf tournament and donating to the Booster Club and Chippewa Fish and Game Club.

When he started in 1970, Mr. Storie said, the bank hoped to reach $10 million in total liabilities. In 2012, it reached close to $20 million.

An open house celebration will take place from noon to 3 p.m. July 14 at the Hammond branch. There will be a luncheon, door prizes and giveaways. All are welcome. There will also be a tour of the bank.

“There are regulations we have to follow, but aside from that we will always do everything we can to help our customers,” Mr. Storie said. “We’ve been here a hundred years and we hope to be here a hundred more and continue with good board members, stockholders and help.”

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