Over the years there have been a number of business
and industries that have played a major role in shaping the history
of Gleason. As bank President Bob Owen noted in 1987, Gleason has
been blessed with an outstanding clay industry, resulting in it
being considered the "ball clay mining capitol of the world", as well as a
thriving sweet potato
industry that ships their products all over the United States.
In his typically generous style, Mr. Owen highlighted the
fact that that the
success and achievements of the Bank of Gleason over the years would
not have been possible without the contributions of these and other
local businesses. That said, it is clear that the
locally-owned, independent, home-town-community Bank of Gleason,
founded in 1901, has
now been the cornerstone of
the Gleason community for the last 115 years .
Starting from humble beginnings in 1901, capable leaders have ushered the Bank of Gleason through good and
times, including World Wars I and II and the Great
Depression - when the Bank of Gleason managed to keep its doors open while other banks in the area were forced to close.
Over the years, this home-town community
Bank has continued to prosper, with the Bank of Gleason now being seen as one of the
strongest banks in the State of Tennessee, with total resources
currently exceeding $123,000,000.
As has been the case with other long-standing
Gleason businesses, old-timers will recall that the Bank of Gleason has
served its customers from several locations, with the first banking
being located on Front street in the building where Jozelle's Beauty
Shop is now located - with Mr. A.G. Brummitt serving as President.
If you were to happen to stop by and chat a bit with Mary Margaret
Beasley or one of the other beauticians at Jozelle's you could
still see the original old vault used by the Bank of Gleason -
looking a lot like it did back in the early 1900's.
A brief history of the Bank of Gleason, edited by
Alan Owen in 1987, notes
that early in 1930 discussions began regarding a possible merger
between the Bank of Gleason and the Farmers & Citizens bank, which was at that time located at the corner of Front and Main
Streets. The merger was finalized on December 31, 1930. The merger
specified that the merged banks would operate according to the
original charter of the Bank of Gleason and would be known as the
Bank of Gleason. Dr. R.W. Bandy was named as President and remained in
that role until his death in 1936. Mr. Carl
Parks was named as his successor in 1937 and served in this
role until 1965.
After the completion of the merger, the Bank of
Gleason remained at it's original location until 1940, at which time it
moved from its original site to the building that had previously
been occupied by the Farmers & Citizens Bank - on the corner of Front
and Main streets. The Bank remained at that location until 1963,
when the it moved across the street to 203 Main Street where it is
In 1989, the bank was renovated, with the 1963
structure being combined with an adjacent building, which had housed
the bookkeeping department since 1971. Another structure between the bank and the Gleason Superette, had been demolished in 1978 to create a much needed drive-through
The Bank of Gleason opened a branch office in
McKenzie in 1990 at 105 South Highland Drive in the Highland Mall.
Under the leadership of President Curtis Mayo, a new facility was erected in McKenzie
in 1998, at 15865 North
Highland Drive, to house the rapidly growing branch office.
Recent years have
ushered in a number of significant changes at the Bank of Gleason. Some
have been structural, while others have had to do with
technological advances that have increased the range and types of services
the Bank has been able to provide.
Structural changes have included the
acquisition of a new bookkeeping vault, an expansion
of the Bookkeeping Department, and increasing the number of drive-through windows. Changes having to
do with technological advances have involved purchasing of a new "in house" computer system
and providing a new 24-hour automated teller system (ATM).
The technological advances have made it possible to provide Internet Banking services with
online Bill Pay capabilities for
Bank of Gleason customers (including those who are out of town).
These options are provided at no cost to the customer.
From its early beginnings, Bank of
Gleason employees have taken pride in serving the local
community, always being mindful that
it is a privilege to serve the banking needs of those in their own
hometown. This is highlighted by the words of some of those working
at the bank over 50 years ago when asked to suggest slogans
descriptive of the Bank of Gleason for an article being written
about the bank. Two of these responses were provided by Bob
Owen and Curtis Mayo. Bob Owen noted "Our bank has prospered because of service to our
farmers, merchants, business men, churches, schools, citizens and
our support to our local community and area - and through their loyal
support to this bank." Curtis Mayo
stated "No customer need too small"; "No transaction too large"
and "For 62 years we have stayed and paid". These words, provided
some 52 years ago, still reflect views that Bank
of Gleason employees have regarding serving citizens of the City of
Regarding the above quote by Mr. Bob Owen
pertaining to the banks dedication to supporting the local
community, it should be noted that the Bank's strong support for the
Gleason community still holds true. The Bank's leadership as always
been attuned to community needs and over the years they have frequently
responded, without fanfare, through unsolicited donations to various
organizations, by providing support for families in need, by supporting Gleason
athletic teams, and by their support for a wide range of other worthy
As the Bank of Gleason has continue to grow and
expand its services over the years, the focus of the bank has
continued to be on providing friendly service and meeting the customers
needs. Here, the Bank of Gleason
provides full-service banking for the Gleason community and those in
the surrounding area.
Whether the service is opening a checking or
savings account and getting a new Visa credit card or getting a loan,
services at the Bank of Gleason are focused on meeting the
unique individual needs of the customer.
Loans are available to meet a full
range of needs. These include loans for
farmers who need new farm equipment, small business loans, loans for new business
ventures, residential real estate loans, home improvement loans,
construction loans, commercial/industrial real estate loans,
loans for a car or boat, and line of credit loans, as well as loans for
who may simply need a personal loan during difficult times.
relates to the type of service that has been the hallmark of the
Bank of Gleason over
the years, this quote from the
Bank of Gleason website tells it all: "We aren't the largest bank in
the area, but we strive to give the best personalized service to our
customers. Our employees know you by name and are never too busy to
help." - After all, isn't that what hometown banking is
all about ? (Story by Jim Johnson)
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