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Farmer's Savings Bank was chartered by the
late attorney Fred Rewoldt, Sr., in 1926, after he gathered $20,000
in capital from his family and friends. He began doing business
in the present post office building in Frederika with his wife,
Martha, and his sister, Adelia Rewoldt, taking deposits from the
teller windows. C.W. Pennington, Levi Hagdeorn, William Boeckmann,
Charles Ladage and John Wendt met monthly as original bank directors
to approve expenses, loans and investments.
Current bank president Frederic Rewoldt remembers
his dad sitting at the kitchen table with a published list of farms
delinquent in property taxes slated for a sheriff's sale during
the mid-1930's. The senior Rewoldt used a red pen to make an “x'
by all those farms for which the bank held mortgages. On the morning
of the sale, he went to the courthouse and paid the taxes due. Only
one farm in the loan portfolio was lost during the Great Depression.
In 1941. bank clerks, Howard Wendt and Lorin
Hamann resigned, and joined other young men who left their 120-acre
family farms in Chickasaw and Bremer counties to serve their country
in Europe and later, in the Pacific. Frederic Rewoldt, then age
14, was given his own key to the front door, taught how to calculate
a daily balance and thus began his lifelong career. As WW II ended,
veterans came home and went straight to work, borrowing money for
tractors and combines. A computerized loan payment notice was unheard
of, as dutiful customers came into the bank on their own to pay
up the day the money was due.
The late Erwin O'Connell and his wife, Maxine
(now Kalvig), were dedicated employees of the bank through the years
when customers built ranch-style homes and took out loans for Chevrolet's.
Current Assistant Cashier Dale Matthias joined the bank in 1975
witnessing inflation fueled by a land boom as area farms were bought
and sold for higher and higher prices. During the 1980's, as commodity
prices fell, many farmers flirted with bankruptcy and for the first
time, the bank purchased federal deposit insurance to protect customers
Fred Rewoldt Sr. came into work every day until
age 91 when he died in 1978. Severely hearing impaired, he took
his place in an overstuffed lobby chair and delighted in watching
his youngest customers pass checks from baby-sitting or baling hay
to long-time clerk Shirley Mack. A fire destroyed the bank
building on an early morning in December of 1987. Even as firemen
were putting away their hoses, the vault was opened, the ledgers
were recovered and business began in a nearby home. It was rebuilt
in the same place the following year.
staff includes: Cindy Bergmann Asmus, Denise Latwesen Haugen, Kevin Ault, Lauren Reick and Tamara Rosol. Mary Rewoldt, wife of the
president, has played a vital role in the bank's success, assisting
her husband and the staff with special events. The current board
includes Frederic Rewoldt, Dale Matthias, Marvin Schumacher of Denver,
and Rewoldt's two children: F. John Rewoldt of Huxley and Margaret
Jane (M.J.) Smith of Guttenberg.
bank continues on Main Street in the town of 200, now financing
personal computers, Jet-Ski's and log homes. Farmers still borrow
money for seed, fertilizer, fuel and new combines. After 80 years,
some things have not changed. Loans are made for diamond engagement
rings and college tuition. Customers carefully unlock their safety
deposit boxes to inspect wills and abstracts. Kids hurriedly empty
their piggy banks onto the counter.
But now, the same bank, which was born in the
age of the automobile, steps into the information era with online
services to support its loyal customers.