GNBank proudly recognizes our rich history as we celebrate serving customers for over 100 years!
The Farmer’s and Miner’s State Bank was started on February 25, 1918, by a group of local farmers and miners. On January 5, 1923, Martin C. Schifferdecker was elected to the Bank's Board of Directors. Martin’s son, W. Earl Schifferdecker, began working as a bookkeeper at the Bank in late 1923 at a monthly salary of $75 after graduating from Pittsburg Business College. On January 7, 1925, Earl was elected to the Board of Directors, replacing his father.
As the decade progressed, times grew hard for everyone, including those in the banking industry. With the country amid the Great Depression, Earl gained permission from the Bank’s President to go through the application process to become a national bank, which would gain the small bank access to the Federal Reserve System. In 1929, The Farmer’s and Miner’s State Bank became The Girard National Bank. Earl was correct; both local state-chartered banks were closed, leaving only The Girard National Bank and The First National Bank of Girard to survive the depression. However, times were still hard, and profit was minimal for the Bank. For instance, in 1936, the Bank’s profit was only $600.
Earl Schifferdecker took over as President of the Bank in the late 1930s while the country was amid World War II. There were many farm sales as servicemen left for the war, and Earl was busy nearly every weekend clerking at them. Earl had quite the reputation for being able to keep up as both clerk and cashier of the auction while approving many loans for bank customers simultaneously. Earl was gifted in math and computed all the figures in his head. No computers or calculators in those days! Many older customers recall getting their first bank loan amid a farm sale while Earl was in the process of clerking. This was multi-tasking at its best!
In 1956, Earl’s son Martin Schifferdecker joined his father in the Bank after graduating from Kansas State Teacher’s College. Martin loved the latest technology. At that time, many banks started using “proof machines” which introduced a double-entry accounting system and helped ensure that the Bank’s books were balanced every evening. Before that, all posting was done by hand. It took some convincing, but Martin talked his father into investing in the first proof machine, and that evening, the Bank balanced to the penny. Martin recalled that this was the first time in the history of the Bank that they could balance to this level of accuracy. Martin continued to be a champion of technology throughout his career by being one of the earliest small banks to add computers. It was hard to keep up with Martin regarding the latest technology. However, this helped the Bank be efficient and able to grow and provide the latest products and services for a small community bank.
In 1960, Earl began the community’s best-known tradition – the annual Bank Christmas Eve dinner. At first, Earl’s gathering was limited to a few friends, a game of “pitch” and ham sandwiches, and possibly a jug of wine in the basement of the Bank. However, the event quickly expanded to include food in the lobby. Earl’s son Martin later expanded the menu to a full dinner, including Chicken Annie’s fried chicken, Schroeder’s beef, sausage, and many other items. The tradition has continued for over 60 years, with the Bank feeding nearly 2,000 individuals each Christmas Eve.
Earl had a reputation for having faith in people and a very genuine and unique character. Earl did not act and dress like most bankers…in fact, he would frequently come into the Bank in a soiled work shirt with cow manure on his boots after checking his own cattle herd. Many older customers have recalled that when no other Bank or banker would help them, Earl Schifferdecker took a chance on them and gave them a start. In one case, a man was having a difficult time making car payments at another bank and was about to have the vehicle repossessed. When Earl found out, he loaned the man the remaining balance out of his pocket. Earl’s generosity was well-known throughout the community. In 1974, at the age of 70, while still serving as President of the Bank, Earl passed away, but his genuine concern for the working man and his unpretentious attitude won him a special place in the hearts of everyone who knew him.
In 1974, Martin took over as President of the Bank. Although Martin’s style was different from his father’s, Martin was also a very genuine and generous leader. Numerous customers had also said that Martin helped them when no one else would, which resulted in many loyal and successful customers over the years. Martin would often “loan” or “give” money out of his pocket to those who might not qualify for a bank loan. Martin led the Bank with the utmost integrity and was a Godly example to all those who worked for him. Martin quickly reminded bank employees that their relationship with God and their family is far more important than work. In 2015, at the age of 80, Martin passed away, coming to work as chairman of the Bank even on his last day.
Starting in the mid-1980s, the Schifferdecker family began to expand the Bank’s footprint. The Bank currently serves 15 wonderful communities: Girard, Yates Center, Bucklin, Offerle, Clay Center, Holton, Horton, Hiawatha, Wetmore, Pittsburg, Arma, Galena, Kansas; Lamar, and Eads, Colorado; and the Greater Kansas City area.
After acquiring the Girard location of People’s Savings & Loan, Martin’s brother John Schifferdecker joined the Bank in 1990 to head up the Bank’s home mortgage department. This was a change in career for John after many years in education. John retired in 2001 but still serves on the Bank’s Board of Directors. John’s wife, Carole (Lehman) Schifferdecker, also worked at the Bank as the Bank’s bookkeeper from 1959-1961.
Martin’s son Mark joined the Bank in 1995 after spending ten years at the accounting firm KPMG in Kansas City. Mark became the President & CEO of the Bank in 2003 and the Chairman of the Board in 2015. Mark has served on the Boards of the Banker’s Bank of Kansas, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka, and the Kansas Bankers Association, which has been invaluable in expanding his knowledge of finance and leadership.
John’s daughter Nancy (Schifferdecker) George began working at the Bank in 1999, after spending 11 ½ years at the Comptroller of the Currency. Nancy currently serves as the Bank’s Chief Risk Officer and is on the Board of Directors.
Other members of the Schifferdecker family who have also served, or are currently serving, on the Bank’s Board include Florene Schifferdecker (Earl’s wife), Sandra Schifferdecker (Martin’s wife), and Nancy Schifferdecker (Mark’s wife).
Following the great examples of their grandfather, fathers, and uncles, Mark and Nancy strive to lead the Bank with integrity and diligence, provide the Bank’s customers and communities with the best banking services possible, and provide a positive and rewarding place for employees to work.
In 2018, the Bank’s name changed to GNBank, N.A. The Bank’s motto for over 70 years has been “The Best Place to Bank and Borrow.” In addition, the Bank’s Board, ownership, and staff have a four-pillar pledge they strive to uphold daily: Treat Others Ethically, Be Adaptable, Center our Focus on Customers, and Invest our Time and Resources in our Communities. It has been the Schifferdecker family’s honor to play an influential role in the lives of so many for 100 years in banking.