The proud heritage of Cornerstone Bank, formerly First National Bank of York, began with a thriving town in central Nebraska where people traveled in buckboards and farmers tilled the land with horse-drawn plows. In 1882, W.A. Sharrar joined forces with other local York businessmen to establish the First National Bank of York. During this era, York College, the York Daily News Times and the York Foundry were all established. Through the depression of the 1880’s, First National continued to grow under the watchful eye of Judge Post, a highly respected attorney.
By 1911, Judge Post helped establish the First Trust Company, an affiliation of the First National Bank. However, just a year later, C.A. McCloud bought Judge Post’s interest. McCloud would prove to be a strong leader, expanding the bank even in adverse times.
As banks across the country continued to close, First National remained stable with continuously rising assets. It survived the infamous bank holiday on March 4, 1933, and a bank robbery later that year.
Four years later, C.A. McCloud died and a community leader and prominent lumberman, Elijah A. Levitt, joined the bank. Levitt had the authority to take over as president, but preferred to stay behind the scenes, concentrating on policy, securing good administrators and serving on committees within the bank. Instead, J.R. McCloud, a younger brother of C.A., took over as president of First National, and over the next 20 years, he would lead the bank through World War II, the Korean and Cold wars.
Approaching its 75th anniversary, First National had established a reputation of strength and progress throughout the community of York and the state of Nebraska. Ralph Misko served as president following the death of J.R. McCloud in 1957. Four years later, Marion Bonham succeeded Misko and brought the first drive-thru bank to York. During this time, Levitt purchased the remaining McCloud stock and served as Chairman of the boards of both First National Bank and First Trust Company until 1976, when he sold First National to Robert V. Jones, C.G. (Kelly) Holthus and Marion Bonham.
Within four years, Holthus and Jones purchased Bonham’s interest and established First York Ban Corp., a multi-bank holding company. A north banking facility was opened, and the first ATM was installed. In 1980, Levitt sold First Trust Company to Jones and Holthus, and on December 12, 1981, First National Bank and First Trust Company moved into a newly constructed, five-story building.
First Trust Company merged with First National Bank, and when Jones retired in 1995, Holthus was elected Chairman of the Board and purchased Jones’ interest. Under the Holthus family’s leadership, the bank continued to expand and in November 1997, First National Bank of York became Cornerstone Bank.
Over the next decade, Holthus helped create a presence for Cornerstone Bank in more communities, spanning from Albion to Guide Rock, Rising City to Shelton. The bank currently has 39 banking locations in 30 communities and has 15 insurance offices. Current assets are $1.5 billion.
Progressive leadership from the Holthus family, personal service and a thriving community has allowed Cornerstone Bank to steadily evolve and grow. And it’s because of this rich heritage that we will continue to prosper in the future.