GNBank proudly recognizes our rich history
as we celebrate serving customers for over 100 years!
EARLY YEARS: 1918–1929
The Girard National Bank was started February 25, 1918, by a group of local farmers and miners under the name of “The Farmer’s and Miner’s State Bank” on the northwest corner of the Girard square. The location of the bank’s main office has remained the same over the past 100 years. The Farmer’s and Miner’s State Bank was the fourth bank to open in Girard, preceded by Crawford County State Bank, The State Bank of Girard, and The First National Bank of Girard.
W. Earl Schifferdecker began working as a bookkeeper at The Farmer’s and Miner’s State Bank in 1923, after graduating from Pittsburg Business College. As the decade progressed, times grew hard for everyone, including those in the banking industry. In the midst of the Great Depression, Earl gained permission from then bank president Ed C. Strickler to go through the application process to become a national bank, which would gain the small bank access to the Federal Reserve System and a greater chance of survival.
A CHANGING RURAL LANDSCAPE: 1929–1960
In 1929, The Farmer’s and Miner’s State Bank became The Girard National Bank. Earl correctly predicted that national banks would have a higher survival rate during these hard times.
Earl Schifferdecker took over as president of The Girard National Bank in the late 1930s, while the country was entering World War II. There were many farm sales as servicemen left for the war, and Earl was busy nearly every weekend clerking at them. Several older customers recall getting their first bank loan while Earl was clerking…multi-tasking at its best!
In 1956, ushering in a new era, the bank was remodeled and featured a beautiful large mural of a western cattle scene. Earl’s son Martin joined the bank in the same year.
GROWING THE TRADITION OF COMMUNITY: 1960–1974
In 1960, Earl began the bank’s best known tradition – the annual bank Christmas Eve dinner. At first, Earl’s gathering was limited to a few friends, but 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, beef, sausage, and many other items. This tradition continues almost 60 years later, with the bank typically feeding approximately 1,500 each Christmas Eve.
Earl had a reputation of having faith in people, and did not act and dress like most bankers. 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 customers recalled that when no other bank or banker would help them, Earl Schifferdecker took a chance on them and gave them a start. His generosity was also 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 heart of everyone who knew him.
EXPANSION YEARS: 1974–present
In 1974, Martin Schifferdecker took over as president of the bank. Under his leadership, the bank continued to grow and prosper. Although Martin’s style was different from his father’s, numerous customers have also said that Martin helped them when no one else would, which resulted in many loyal, successful customers. Martin was also quick to remind bank employees that their relationship with God and their family was far more important than work.
Martin was a champion of technology throughout his career by being one of the earliest small banks to add computers. This helped the bank be efficient and able to grow and provide the latest products and services available for a small community bank. 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 1980s, the bank expanded its footprint. Locations were added as follows:
1986 – Yates Center, Kansas
1990 – Drive-through facility (formerly People’s Savings & Loan), Girard, Kansas
1995 – Bucklin and Offerle, Kansas
1998 – Clay Center, Kansas
2002 – Holton, Horton, Hiawatha, and Wetmore, Kansas, and GNB Mortgage Company
2006 – Lamar and Eads, Colorado
2007 – Hiawatha, Kansas (second location)
2015 – Pittsburg, Arma, and Galena, Kansas
With the acquisition of the Girard location of People’s Savings & Loan, Martin’s brother John Schifferdecker left the education field and joined the bank in 1990 to head up the new home loan department. John retired in 2001, but still serves on the bank’s board of directors.
Martin’s son Mark joined the bank in 1995 after spending ten years at the accounting firm KPMG. Mark became president of the bank in 2003. Following the great examples of his grandfather and his father, Mark strives to lead the bank with integrity and diligence, and to provide the bank’s customers and communities with the best banking services possible.
The bank is led by a dedicated board of directors, which includes Hervey Bone, Alan Boultinghouse, John Danler, Nancy (Schifferdecker) George, John Schifferdecker, Mark Schifferdecker, Nancy Schifferdecker, and Sandra Schifferdecker.
In July 2018, The Girard National Bank and its branches joined together under one name and brand as GNBank. In keeping with the bank’s long-time motto, we strive to make GNBank “The Best Place to Bank and Borrow!”