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The Chelsea State Bank Story

Chelsea State Bank began in true family and community spirit.

December 1897

Reuben Kempf and Charles H. Kempf were brothers who founded R. Kempf and Brother in 1876. On December 18, 1897, a new financial institution was created when a diverse group of twenty-one Chelsea investors joined in the purchase of four hundred shares of bank stock. Articles of Incorporation were filed, a State banking charter was obtained, and with an initial capitalization of $40,000 Kempf Commercial and Savings Bank opened for business on January 17, 1898.

April 1908

A large group of Chelsea area farmers and merchants joined forces, and Farmers and Merchants Bank of Chelsea was granted a charter by the State in April 1908.

The first directors of the Farmers and Merchants Bank were John F. Waltrous, Peter Merkel, Christian Grau, Lewis Geyer, Joseph H. Guthrie, C.H. Kalmbach, John Kalmbach, Orrin C. Burkhart, and John Farrell. Paul G. Schaible, Sr. helped organize the bank and he served as head cashier and sole employee of the bank in its early years.

Both of these Chelsea banks flourished over the next two decades.

America’s Great Depression - Chelsea’s Great Opportunity

The country fell on hard times in the early 1930's, and throughout what is now known as The Great Depression, countless banks across the nation failed. Although both Chelsea banks were conservatively managed and healthy, they decided that merging forces and operating as one institution was both practical and prudent. On February 24, 1934 the two banks formed Chelsea State Bank "for the purpose of greater efficiency and economy of management, as well as for the general welfare of said corporation and the community wherein they transact business."

Paul G. Schaible, Sr. (once a head cashier) was named Bank President, a leadership role he would maintain for 28 years, until Paul E. Mann succeeded him in 1962. Chelsea State Bank became a member of the newly formed Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in 1935 with deposits insured to $5,000.

February 1968

The bank grew as the Village of Chelsea and its neighboring communities prospered. It continued to operate out of the stone Glazier building at South and Main until the need for modern drive-up banking services and expanded facilities necessitated a move. Committed to the downtown area for its headquarters, the southeast corner of Main and Orchard was elected to be the site of its new building. A new and modernized Chelsea State Bank opened for business in its new quarters in February 1968 with assets totaling $15 million. The stone building which had served as the bank's home for 41 years was granted to Washtenaw County for use as a District Court.

Three Decades and Growing

Over the next three decades, Chelsea State Bank would continue to grow steadily and prosperously, paralleling and reflecting the growth of the Chelsea community and its surroundings. In 1980, with assets now totaling $48 million, a branch office opened at Old US 12 and S. Main. In 1993 this site became the location of a 17,000 sq. ft. bank headquarters building.

In 1997 a complete renovation of the former Chelsea State Bank headquarters at Main and Orchard was completed, once again demonstrating the bank’s commitment to a vital and dynamic downtown Chelsea. 1997 also marked the bank’s 100-year anniversary and the celebration of the century took place that summer. The bank marked the beginning of its second century by generously pledging $250,000 for the creation of the Chelsea Community Foundation.

The Second Century and a New Millennium Begins

The year 2000 featured the opening of the Dexter Banking Center - the bank’s first branch office outside of Chelsea. By June 2007 the bank’s assets had grown to $200 million – a long way from the $40,000 it first held in public trust in 1897. Financial growth and longevity come through consistently conservative business methods and fair, courteous, and honest treatment in every transaction. Chelsea State Bank’s technology may have brought about great changes in banking, but these operating principles and values will never change.

The Chelsea State Bank Story is your community story and we are your community bank. With over 115 years of dedicated service, we remain committed to our families, our businesses, and our local communities. We optimistically move into the second decade of our second century. The best of Chelsea State Bank is yet to come.

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