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History  
 

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."