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About First Iowa State Bank

First Iowa State Bank was originally organized as Farmers State Bank of Keosauqua and Birmingham in March of 1931. There were 70 original share-holders with controlling shares held by B.J. Howland of Pleasantville, Iowa. Most of the shareholders were local residents who invested $120 to $240 in the new bank. Local surnames of stockholders included DeHart, Hodges, Mechem, Rinaberger, Secor, and Syfert. Before the bank was established in what is now the Van Buren Telephone Company office, there was no bank in Keosauqua. Two earlier banks, the Manning Bank and the Keosauqua State Bank, had closed. Space for the new bank was rented from Dr. F.M. McClurg for $30 a month for 30 years. By June 30, 1931, total deposits in Farmers State Bank were $151,727.92 and loans were $25,835.

Fred E. Ovrom purchased the controlling interest in Farmers State Bank from B.J. Howland in 1936 and continued as its controlling stockholder until his death in 1979. He was president from 1936 to 1973. Assets of the bank during his 45-year tenure rose from $275,000 to $22,000,000 dollars. Fred Ovrom changed the philosophy of the bank by being a believer in making loans to local farmers and businessmen. He became a driving force in the community, serving as a city councilman, an organizer of the sale barn, the Keosauqua Light Plant, the Keosauqua Rotary Club, and the Keosauqua Business Club, just to name a few.

Under Fred Ovrom's guidance, Farmers State Bank constructed a new building between 1957 and 1958 and with new additions; this building continues to be the home of Community First Bank in Keosauqua. The Birmingham office was renovated in 1971, transforming it into a showpiece building in downtown Birmingham.

In 1973, Fred was succeeded by his son, Arthur P. Ovrom, and his son-in-law, John A. Manning.

In 1980, Van Buren Bancorporation was formed, creating a one-bank holding company. State Savings Bank of Cantril was purchased by the Bancorporation in 1983. A branch of the State Savings Bank was opened in Bloomfield, Iowa, in 1994.

Farmers State and State Savings Bank merged into one bank in 1996, creating a Community First Bank.

On December 31, 2006, total deposits of Community First Bank were $86,000,000 dollars and total assets were $110,000,000.

Current family members working in the bank are John O. Manning, CEO, and George E. Manning, President. Arthur Ovrom is still active in the Van Buren Bancorporation.

In October 1993, Van Buren Bancorporation formed an employee stock ownership plan, and the employees purchased 30% of the holding company. Today, the employees own 35% of the holding company.

Members of First Iowa State Bank's Board of Directors are Ernest Birchmier, Barbara Morris, Mark Robertson, Michelle Barker, James Harward, John O. Manning and George E. Manning.

More Information

Please feel free to call any of our four offices for more information.

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