Welcome to Friendship, a Fully Modern Bank with a Long History
The Friendship State Bank was founded in 1912 by a group of local businessmen and farmers. The man they chose to manage their new venture was Wilkie S. Lemon, a local farmer whose main background was in horse and cattle trading. Lemon was willing to serve in this capacity, but requested a period of training at the Osgood Bank before assuming his duties.
In April of that year, Wilkie Lemon went to the Osgood State Bank. On October 26,1912, he became the first Cashier and Manager of the Friendship State Bank. He was armed with six months of training and a two-page list of things you need to start a bank (pens, pencils, ledger sheets, etc.).
The first regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors took place on November 2, 1912. At this meeting, the first loan application, from the Bear Creek Baptist Church, was approved. The board also agreed that the bank would make no loan for an amount lower than twenty-five cents. They decided to install a telephone as soon as possible-the bank's first step into the "high-tech" world.
Wilkie Lemon justified the faith of those initial investors by his superb management of the bank from 1912 until 1957. It was due to his efforts that Friendship State Bank weathered the Depression of the 1930's, which was catastrophic for so many small banks. Surprisingly, one of the casualties of the era was the Osgood State Bank, which had trained Mr. Lemon.
Sensible growth management has been another hallmark of the Friendship State Bank. The bank started out in a small building on Main Street, and was added onto several times until it reached its present size. One additional building has been built behind the original building. A third building, attached to the main building and situated behind the local post office, was completed in December, 2007.
This gradual approach was similarly followed in the bank's expansion to six other locations- Dillsboro (October, 1989), Cross Plains (August, 1992), Rising Sun (February, 1998) Versailles (November, 2000), Vevay (January, 2006), and Batesville (January, 2009). Each time, the expansion was in response to community requests for service. The Cross Plains office was closed in 2009, after many customers that once visited the office found Vevay, Friendship, and Versailles more convenient.
This responsiveness to community needs is reflected in the branch management policy. Each manager is encouraged to run his or her branch like their own bank, in order to be a true part of the community in which they serve. This personalized approach has been another key element of Friendship State Bank's success in each of its locations.
Recognizing the need for a full menu of financial services, the bank acquired an insurance agency in 2000. Friendship Insurance is now recognized as a regional-leading insurance agency, with 8 agents convenient to all customers in our market area. Several agents have offices in our bank branches, to make it easy to meet with an agent. The main office is in Dillsboro, and a thriving location is right on Eads Parkway in Lawrenceburg.
The Lemon family is in its third generation of management of the Friendship State Bank. After Wilkie Lemon's death in 1957, his son James W. Lemon managed the bank until 1992. Since that date, James William Lemon has continued his family's tradition. He and his brother Tracy N. Lemon are raising the next generation of bankers. Many members of the Lemon family have found careers in the Friendship State Bank since 1912, and there are great hopes for the future.
The bank's management is also proud to note that more than 100 people rely on Friendship for solid, good-paying jobs. At Friendship, job retention is high, upward mobility is real, and we boast the best group of community bankers, at every level, that you will come across. Of course, that is our opinion... come on in and see for yourself.
From the beginning of the 20th century to the dawn of the 21st, from 25-cent loans to multimillion-dollar transactions, the Friendship State Bank has prospered. We look forward to its challenges, inspired by our past successes. We will continue to be a community bank, responsive to the needs of both our customers and our shareholders.