art mural in celeste
The First Bank of Celeste is a locally owned and controlled full service bank that was chartered in 1900. With a community-driven mindset, we pride ourselves on long term relationships that have often spanned several generations of a customer’s family. We are a modern bank with old-fashioned values, customers will always have an actual employee answer each direct telephone call during our regular business hours Monday through Saturday morning.
We provide a full range of services, including regular personal and business checking accounts, NOW and money market accounts, ATM/Check cards, certificates of deposit, and a wide range of loan services. We emphasize a commitment to efficiency, accuracy, and confidentiality in our daily activities. Let us help you build a personal relationship with our bank that will last a lifetime!
Opened on May 1, 1900 as the First National Bank of Celeste, our bank has enjoyed tremendous stability coupled with very steady growth and success. In 1986, the bank was converted to a state charter and the name changed to The First Bank of Celeste. During the 115 plus years of our existence, there have only been six Presidents of the bank. The bank’s founder, M. K. Harrell served in that capacity until 1915. G. B. Norris served until his death in 1925. S. R. Granberry became President in July 1925, a position he held until 1963 when his son, Albert Granberry, succeeded him as President. In 1981 Bob Barnard, who was serving as Senior Vice-President for the Granberry family, became part of a new ownership group and was named the fifth President of the bank. A 1972 graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Agriculture Economics, Mr. Barnard serves as Chairman of the Board today and was awarded the 50-Year Banker Award from the Texas Bankers Association in May 2019. Chris Barnard became the sixth bank President in July 2017. Graduating with a Finance degree in 2002 from Texas A&M University, Chris is the sixth generation of his family to serve the bank.
The bank operated at the original location until 1978 when a new building one block west of the old bank was moved into. Expanded in 1984, this building continues to serve the bank today.
The bank has always been soundly and conservatively managed as indicated by its ability to withstand “The Great Depression” which began in 1929 with leadership from S.R. Granberry, M.B. Harrell, E.T Fry, and Frank Barnard. This tradition continued under the guidance of Bob Barnard and Williams F. Stevens during the banking and Savings & Loan crisis of the 1980’s and very early 1990’s. During this volatile time, which included hundreds of Savings & Loan and bank failures throughout the nation and Texas, The First Bank of Celeste continued to prosper with steady growth and solid returns for its shareholders. Many banks in Texas experienced significant problems related to poor loans and minimal profit margins which resulted in problems with both Federal and State regulators. However, First Bank of Celeste avoided these pitfalls and moved into the twenty-first century with stable management and employee stability.
Many factors have contributed to the success and stability of the bank throughout its history. Perhaps the most important are continuity of management and loyal, well-trained employees who have been truly concerned with the needs of all customers of the bank.
Bob Barnard – Chairman of the Board (53 Years of Service)
Chris Barnard – President (18 Years of Service)
Ryon Gilliam – Senior Vice-President – Loans (28 Years of Service)
Abigail Evans – CFO & Operations (5 Years of Service)
Birdie White – Administration & Customer Service (37 Years of Service)
Tonja Saye – Customer Service (35 Years of Service)
Brenda Chennault – Customer Service (31 Years of Service)
Connie Edwards – Data Processing and Customer Service (20 Years of Service)
Jay Giles – New Accounts & Customer Service (11 Years of Service)
Karen Hurst – Loan Administration & Customer Service (11 Years of Service)
Nancy Myers – Loan Administration & Customer Service (4 Years of Service)
Tuffer Jordan – Customer Service (2 Years of Service)
Melinda Knapp – Customer Service (1 Year of Service)