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The 150 year history of First National Bank in Creston and Afton

posted on Thursday, March 28, 2019 in Newsroom

This year is Creston's 150th birthday! To celebrate, the Sesquicentennial Committee has several events planned this spring and summer. They're also working on updating the Creston history book for this occasion.

The book is expected to be published in mid-May and will be available at the Creston Chamber of Commerce along with Create Creston. Below is the history records First National Bank submitted to the committee.


First National Bank has served southwest Iowa since 1871.

The first bank in Creston was known as The S.H. Mallory and Company Bank. It was founded in 1871, the same year the city of Creston was incorporated. The Mallory Bank became First National Bank in 1881. S.H. Mallory, a prominent railroad conductor, was the president of First National Bank until 1885 when the bank sold to T.J. Potter.

Others who presided over the bank since 1885 include:

Mr. Clarke (1885-1902), S.W. Richardson (1903), M.D. Smith (1911), Frank Ide (1925), Will Recknor (1934), Andrew Jensen (1937), H.C. Houghton (1956), Dwight Conover (1984), Danny Purdum (1994) and Randy Huewe (2007).  

For nearly the first 100 years, First National Bank was located at the corner of Adams and Maple streets. That bank was remodeled in 1911, 1939 and 1951.

The remodel in 1911 included Mrs. Annie Richardson, First FNB bank photothe main stockholder, completely facing the bank with granite stone and brick.

In 1951, the bank celebrated a double event by celebrating its 80th anniversary along with the completion of an extensive remodeling project at the location. The remodel included a complete makeover of the lobby, indirect lighting fixtures and the bank’s first air conditioner was installed.

Today, that building is home of Trinity Salon and Day Spa.

In 1967, bank president H.C. Houghton and his staff had the former Sidey Hotel torn down at the corner of Adams and Pine Streets and built a new bank there. The bank was built as a modern one-story American brick structure with large white pillars and “all the conveniences of a friendly drive-through teller, comfortable lobby, secure vault and spacious air-conditioned community room.”

In the 1970s, First National Bank became one of the first community banks to purchase a computer. The bookkeeping department used the computer to process checks and update checking and savings accounts. People from all over the state during the 1970s came to First National Bank to see the computer.

In 1984, Houghton retired and “passed the bank keys” to brothers Dwight and Neal Conover. The Conovers immediately remodeled the bank to be more accessible for customers, built new offices and moved the bookkeeping department downstairs. Today, First National Bank still proudly conducts business at this location.


Under the Conover regime, First National Bank added three locations including the Afton bank located on the town square, a Lorimor branch and a consumer bank on the corner of Highway 34 and Sumner Avenue in Creston.

Dwight and Neal Conover along with other investors purchased the Afton bank from Commercial State Bank in 1985 after it was closed by the FDIC. The Lorimor branch was part of that purchase. The locations reopened as Citizens Savings Bank for a short time before merging into First National Bank in 1987. The Lorimor branch later closed.  

Meanwhile, because of the bank’s growth during the late 1980s, the Conovers built a new consumer bank on the corner of Highway 34 and Sumner Avenue where they extended hours and added a three-lane drive-up to better serve customers.  Greg Driskell with Raymond James Financial also began holding office hours at the consumer bank location at that time for investment clients. Driskell and his staff are housed there full-time today.

The Conovers still own First National Bank today along with Northwest Bank locations all over Iowa and in Nebraska.

First National Bank continues to be on the cutting edge of new technology for customers and First National Bank has continually grown in asset size over the past 150 years. Below are the asset sizes since opening.

1881: $180,000
1901: $520,000
1921: $1,295,000
1951: $5,477,000
1967: $10,410,000
1984: $60,050,000
1992: $95,000,000
2002: $150,122,000
2010: $200,573,000
2018: $245,653,000

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