In 1900, veteran bankers Leland Windsor
and Simon Cassady joined forces to organize a private bank in a
small town outside Des Moines. Their business was named Windsor
& Cassady Bankers; the town was known as Valley Junction. Within
a year, the bank had recorded deposits of some $40,000. The owners
then decided to make the business a national bank, obtaining a charter
from the U.S. government authorizing the bank to issue notes acceptable
as legal tender. Thus, on July 1, 1901, the First National Bank
of Valley Junction was founded.
Nearly a century later, the small town has grown into the thriving
metropolitan community of West Des Moines. The bank, whose name
was changed in 1938 to First National Bank of West Des Moines, now
has three locations and assets totaling nearly $95 million. Yet,
despite the changes, one distinction remains the same: FIRST BANK
is still a locally owned bank.
THE MESSERSCHMIDT LEADERSHIP
On June 19, 1939, Roy M. Messerschmidt
of Des Moines bought the controlling interest in First National
Bank of West Des Moines, took immediate possession, and became president.
His wife, Mable 0. Messerschmidt, became vice president. Counting
its officers, the bank had only six employees. But within the next
decade, the bank grew in personnel and in physical stature.
Roy W. Messerschmidt joined his parents in the business in June
1949. That same year, the bank constructed a two-story addition
onto its west end. As the bank continued to grow and prosper through
the 1950s and early 1960s, it was again necessary to expand. In
1964, the bank purchased the neighboring building to the north and
expanded the lobby.
By 1969, Roy W. Messerschmidt had become president of the bank and
Roy M. Messerschmidt had taken on the role of chairman. Total assets
had grown to $3.9 million.
In July 1991, the bank moved the location of its historic office
from its original location to Fifth Street in West Des Moines. While
it was very difficult to leave the original location, rich in tradition
and history, the move was necessary in order to provide customers
with modern banking services. The new location, still within Valley
Junction, provides drive-up facilities and an ATM, as well as convenient
parking for bank customers.
On December 31, 1993, the bank converted its national charter to
a state charter and changed its legal name to FIRST BANK, consistent
with what its customers and the community had been calling the bank
for the preceding 25 years.
FIRST BANK opened a new location in Johnston
on October 15, 2003 and its newest location in the growing West
Glen Town Center area on October 16, 2006, which is now designated
as the main office.
In April 2011, William R. Messerschmidt was
named President and CEO. William has been with First Bank for over
30 years. He is the youngest son of Roy W. Messerschmidt.
FIRST BANK looks forward to providing
the quality, personalized service to the local communities as they
have for over 100 years. Having been locally owned and operated
for over a century, First Bank continues to provide "Banking
The Way You Want It."