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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 the State of New York, Citizens National Bank has outlasted many area banks that have gone in and out of business over the years, according to President, CEO and CFO Schelin M. Crosby.

“I think it’s our location,” Chairman of the Board of Directors Wayne K. Storie said on Thursday. “We’re 10 miles from any bank,” Mr. Storie said. “Employees and stock holders 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 location at 19 Main Street 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,” said Mrs. Crosby. “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 the same as it has for the past 31 years while he has served as board director. The bank is stock-owned, with the majority of its 62 stock-holders residing 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,” said Mr. Storie. “We’ve received numerous offers to merge or be purchased by another bank.

Mr. Storie said the board is constantly pressured by other banks.

“It’s tough to stay independent,” he said. “There will always a bigger bank. But the board agrees its best we stay independent, that way we can provide the best service to our community.”

The bank is actively involved in a number of community activities such as sponsoring a hole in the Morristown Teacher’s 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 the 10 million in total liabilities. In 2012, the bank reached close to 20 million.

The 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 to attend. 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,” said Mr. Storie. “We’ve been here a 100 years and we hope to be here a hundred more and continue with good board members, stockholders and help.”

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