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By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

For 20 years, Wilson Bank & Trust has been serving the people of Hartsville, and the bank is ready to celebrate that milestone.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Wilson Bank & Trust will celebrate its 20 years in Hartsville next week.

The bank will host an event on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 2-5 p.m. At 3 p.m., the original employees will reunite to mark the 20-year history. Bank officials from Lebanon are also expected to attend.

“We’ll give away some door prizes, and have refreshments,” said branch manager Lisa Beal Dies. “When we started this bank, we knew we had a huge obstacle ahead of us. But we work for a very good, sound organization. We’ve been very blessed.

“Even though we are a big bank, we’re very much a community bank.”

Among the prizes given away will be a $100 gift card basket.

 

Bank’s history

Starting a new bank was the combined brainchild of two people: Glen Haynes & Dale Dies.

“Haynes, Dies, Lisa Beal Dies & Linda Gregory were all working at Community First Bank in Hartsville,” said Lisa Dies. “Community First announced in October 1996 that they would be selling to First American.

“All of us had been there for many years. We didn’t know if we would have jobs or not, but Glen knew that some of us would lose our jobs.”

Dale Dies, who had contacts with Wilson Bank & Trust, helped set up a meeting at which bank officials expressed interest in opening a branch in Trousdale County.

“We were interested in going with them, and it’s worked out very well for us,” said Haynes, who served as branch manager until he semi-retired in 2014. “I hope it’s worked out for Trousdale County as well, and I think it has.

“We have everything that a consumer could hope to have: a mortgage department, insurance, investments, everything.”

Submitted photo
Employees and bank officials pose outside a trailer which was the bank’s original home when it opened in February 1997.

The bank, then titled Trousdale Bank & Trust, opened its doors on Feb. 20, 1997, utilizing a trailer in the Foodland parking lot, across the street from the current location on McMurry Blvd.

“That first day was a beautiful, warm February day, and people stayed lined up the whole day,” said Lisa Dies.

According to Lisa Dies, 47 accounts were opened on that first day of business, and the bank has grown at a phenomenal rate since then.

“The first year we were open, our total assets were about $12 million. We’re right at $91 million now,” said Lisa Dies. “The community’s been good to us, and we’ve tried to be good to the community.”

The bank started with six employees, of whom Lisa Dies and Linda Gregory are the only original employees remaining. The bank now employs 11 people at its Hartsville location.

WBT moved quickly to purchase property for a permanent building. Construction began immediately thereafter, and the current location opened on March 8, 1998. The building was expanded in the early 2000s, adding an upstairs meeting room and extra space to the rear of the building.

The name was changed to Wilson Bank & Trust in 2014 to provide conformity among all branches. WBT has 27 branches across Middle Tennessee with $2.2 billion worth of assets.

 

Community service

Ever since its opening, WBT has strived to be a positive influence on the community by way of a number of programs that continue today.

The bank recognizes a Yellow Jackets Player of the Week during football season, something that began the first year. The bank also has held an annual Farmers’ Luncheon since 1998 and participates in the Christmas parade each year. WBT recognizes the Top 10 students at Jim Satterfield Middle School, and provides a scholarship each year to a graduating high school senior. In addition, the bank hosts an annual Veterans’ Luncheon, Solid Gold Fish Fry and Family Fun Day.

WBT also has a School Bank program, through which elementary school students can open up accounts into which they can make deposits each month at school.

Submitted photo
Groundbreaking was held in 1997 for the bank’s permanent site, which opened in 1998.

“That’s been very successful. A lot of those kids have grown up and now have accounts with us,” said Lisa Dies.

Lisa Dies also recognized the members of the bank’s Community Board, many of whom have served since the bank’s opening. The board currently consists of Mark Beeler, Jerry Helm, Kenny Linville, Ron Moreland, Mike Cornwell, Tammy Dixon and Michael Towns.

“We meet every month and talk about ways to bring in new business, about events that are coming up,” Lisa Dies said.

“They’re the eyes and ears of the bank in the community,” added loan officer Seth Thurman.

Over those 20 years, WBT has worked to maintain its standing with the community, and officials said they are truly grateful for the support Hartsville has shown.

“Our whole premise was to be a good neighbor for Trousdale County,” Haynes said. “Hopefully, that’s what we’ve been able to do.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.