The Bank of Lester was opened for business in August, 1890, the same being owned by Parker, Richards & Co., consisting of J.F. Parker, B.L. Richards and F.B. Parker with a capital of $3,000, contributed equally by the three partners.

F.B. Parker was cashier and was in charge of the business until the following year when Tewksbury and Pingrey purchased the business continuing the same as a private bank until December, 1895.

The firm of Tewksbury & Pingrey consisted of F.S. Tewksbury and W.H. Pingrey, the latter acting as cashier.

In December, 1895, they made deed of assignment to M.A. Cox, assignee. Liabilities about $80,000, resources $89,000. The affairs of the bank were wound up in September, 1898, and assignee discharged, every dollar of liabilities and interest thereon being paid.

Prior to the settlement the bank building, furniture and fixtures were sold to F.D. and J.L. Mitchell who in February, 1897, commenced doing a private banking business under the title of Citizens Bank of Lester.

F.D. Mitchell, president, J.L. Mitchell, cashier. Responsibility $50,000.

Opened February 1, 1897, and continued in business until February 1, 1901, at which time it was converted into the Citizens Savings Bank, Lester, Iowa, with a paid up capital of $12,000 and with the following officers: J.W. Ramsey, president, L. Sutter, vice president, J.L. Mitchell, cashier.

Directors: F.D. Mitchell, J.W. Ramsey, E.C. Roach, L. Sutter and F.L. Sutter.

At present the officers are the same with the exception that A.W. Dula is assistant cashier, and the directors are: J.W. Ramsey, E.C. Roach, L. Sutter, F.L. Sutter and J.L. Mitchell.

By reference to January, 1904, bank directory, this bank reports as follows: Deposits $60,000, loans, $55,000, cash reserve, $15,000.

December 15, 1932:

The Citizens Savings Bank of Lester, of which Fred Haegele was president, and B.C. Hewlett, cashier, failed to open for business on Friday of last week. Inability to make collections at the present time as well as a continued operating loss were given as reasons for the closing of the bank.

Citizens Savings Bank, Lester, Iowa served the public for several years and on December 9, 1932 closed its doors and fell victim to the Great Depression. Many “Old Timers” and those familiar with the bank have repeatedly said that the bank was strong and could have survived. Negative attitudes and strong feeling of the regulatory agencies seem to suggest closing was the thing to do. And so it was.

Following the 1932 closing, Security Savings Bank of Larchwood operated an office in Lester for a time and this office discontinued when the Lester State Bank opened for business on June 1, 1945.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation required the new bank to have no less than $45,000.00 in capital of which $30,000.00 was in common stock, $10,000.00 in surplus and $5,000.00 in undivided profits. 300 shares of stock were sold to the public providing funds to meet this requirement.

The first shareholders were as follows:

Atbert Blauwet

J.J. Hoogendoorn

Chris Boom

Harry Hoogeveen

C.H. Campbell

Ray McCarty

J.D. Chamberlain

Tom McCarty

Paul Feucht

Philip Mogler

Pauline Feucht

G.T. Nagelestad

Theodore Gerber

Clara Nagelestad

John Groth

F.H. Peters

Fred Haegele

W.L. Petersen

Otto Haegele

J.F. Schoelerman

Will H. Haegele

Emma Schoelerman

Theodore Herman

Paul Schoening

Harvey H. Hindt

August Maurer

The original incorporators and directors of the Lester State Bank were August Maurer, G.T.Naglestad, Paul Schoening, Ray McCarty, Fred Haegele and J.F. Schoelerman. August Maurer was elected President and Paul Schoening was appointed cashier. Fred Haegele and Ray McCarty made up the examining committee. The bank paid 1% interest on both certificates of deposits and savings account. The bank continued to grow and by the end of the first year had total assets of $500,000.00. In January of 1946 Arlo Mae Hoogeveen was hired as the first bookkeeper. Later that same year Charles J. Siebsen was hired. In January of 1947 Melva Mogler was employed. At the stockholders meeting held January 20, 1947, the board was increased to seven directors and at that time Harry Hoogeveen was elected to fill the additional directorship. Statement of Condition of the Lester State Bank, Lester, Iowa at the close of Business Sept. 30, 1947


Loans and Discounts

$ 56,765.20


$ 551,250.00


$ 11.21

Cash and Due from Banks

$ 236,357.64

Bank Bldg., Fur, and Fixtures

$ 4,000.00


$ 848,384,05


$ 30,000


$ 10,000

Undivided Profits

$ 10,134.54


$ 798,249.51


$ 848,384.05

Member of The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

In 1950 the first dividend of $5.00 per share was declared and paid to shareholders.

In September of 1952 August Maurer resigned as President and in January of 1953 Mr. J.F. Schoelerman was elected President serving in that capacity until his retirement in 1964.

On May 20, 1953 Paul Schoening resigned as Cashier and Director and this position was then filled by Griffith S. Stensland, Mr. Stensland operated the bank until his retirement in 1964.

Albert Blauwet was elected to the board on January 17, 1955 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1988. Other directors serving at this time were J.F. Schoelerman, G.T. Naglestad, Harry Hoogeveen, Ray McCarty and G.S. Stensland.

In the late fall of 1963, Stanley G. Smith of Rock Rapids, Iowa, purchased controlling interest in the bank. Retiring directors were Harry Hoogeveen, J.F. Schoelerman and G.T Naglestad. The newly elected directors were Charles D. Riter, John DeWild, and Stan Smith. Ray McCarty, Albert Blauwet and G.S. Stensland made up the balance of the directorship. In January of 1964 Ray McCarty was elected President and Wayne R. Wilke was appointed Cashier and Office Manager. A major event in 1964 was the remodeling of the old bank building.

December 31, 1964, Mr. G.S Stensland retired as a director. At the annual shareholders meeting held January 18, 1965, Wayne R. Wilke was elected to the directorship filling the vacancy created with Mr. Stensland’ s retirement.

On January 11, 1971, Harold W. Meester was hired and received his first promotion to Assistant Cashier in 1973. Currently, Harold is in charge of the bank’s insurance agency and is a Vice President of the bank, a promotion he received in April of 1977.

Ray McCarty, a shareholder, a member of the Board of Directors and President of the Lester State Bank passed away on January 5, 1972. At the direc­tors meeting held January 7, 1972, Wayne R. Wilke was elected President succeeding Mr. McCarty. In January of 1977, Wilke was elected Chairman of Board, a position he currently holds.

John DeWild submitted his resignation as director effective February 11, 1972. This vacancy was later filled by Mervin Warner of Larchwood, Iowa. Mr. Warner served as a director until his retirement in 1988.

On September 16, 1976 the Superintendent of Banking approved the application of the Lester State Bank to move its main office to Rock Valley and establish a branch office in Lester. Construction immediately started on the new bank building in Rock Valley. The bank opened in May of 1977 under the name of Peoples Bank and Trust.

Kathleen (McCarty) Wilke joined the bank in May of 1977 as a secretary and is currently an Assistant Cashier and Loan Officer. Other staff personnel include Nola Wulf and Marlys Doorneweerd who are in charge of the Teller/Bookkeeping functions in the bank.

In 1981 the bank purchased the late E.A. Feucht property and construction started that year on a new Bank building in Lester. The all new one story brick structure provides a spacious lobby area, four offices, a conference room and a drive-up facility. This 3,000 square foot building enhances Lester’s main street and the community it serves.

Peoples Bank and Trust (Lester and Rock Valley) has continued to grow and now have combined assets approaching $24,000,000.00.


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