Standing (left to right): Directors: William S. Meyer, Ed Saracco, Homer Henke, Tom Harrison and Murlin Hawkins.
Sitting (left to right): Larry Ziglar, President; Chris Hardnock, Director; Celeste Hardnock, Chairman, and Gina Lotter, Executive Vice President.
The First National Bank in Staunton is committed to providing quality financial services, which are responsive to our customers' needs. A professional and friendly staff will ensure we offer quality customer service. Maintaining a strong capital position is imperative to achieving these goals and ensuring the bank’s future growth and success.
History of First National Bank in Staunton
In the Beginning
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Most will recognize this quote from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inaugural speech, but few realize that it refers to the bank crisis of the 1930’s. The First National Bank in Staunton was formed in the wake of this speech, in response to the Banking Reform Act of 1933, and in the midst of the Great Depression in order to protect the financial health of local citizens. Throughout its 80-year history, FNB has continued to provide sound financial services during some of the most turbulent times in American history.
In 1934, two of Staunton’s banks, First National Bank and Staunton National Bank, merged to form The First National Bank in Staunton (FNB). As more than 9,000 U.S. banks failed during the 1930’s, these two small local banks merged in order to strengthen their financial standing and safeguard the assets of current and future customers. Originally, FNB was located on the corner of Main and Elm Streets in the former Fischer Insurance building.
Charles F. Hackman, a notable citizen of Staunton, served as the first president of FNB. Mr. Hackman was a former mayor of the city and was successful in the furniture, monument, and architectural design businesses. He carried on his success in banking, but unfortunately fell ill shortly after the two banks merged. Even during his illness, his devotion to the bank did not falter. He held business meetings in his home and continued drawing plans for the bank interior until his death in 1935. Mr. Hackman was the first of many bank leaders to approach his service to the bank and its customers with passion and dedication.
Working with C.F. Hackman, Joseph Rizzie served on the original board of directors of FNB. Mr. Rizzie was the former president of a bank in Benld and served as president of several banking associations. He was instrumental in the merger of the Staunton banks, becoming the director, president, (1957-1967) and, ultimately, chairman of the board, until illness eventually forced his retirement. Mr. Rizzie was politically active and well known for his participation in many local volunteer organizations. Most notably, Mr. Rizzie was an advisor and confidant to foreign-born citizens. He was passionate about working with immigrants who had settled in the area, sharing with them his deep respect for our country and emphasizing the importance of education and a strong work ethic.
Following Mr. Rizzie’s presidency, JR Russell served as president from 1967 to 1971, until Ralph Oltmann took over as president. The son-in-law of Joseph Rizzie, Ralph Oltmann was the longest standing and most influential leader of FNB. As a young man, Ralph served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He was a waist-gunner on a B-24 bomber that was shot down over France in 1943. He was a German prisoner of war until his camp was liberated by the Allies in 1945.
After his return from the war, Ralph married Josephine Rizzie, the daughter of Joseph, in 1948. Along with his brother, Irvin, he founded Oltmann Oil Company. He began working for the bank in 1953 as a director. Ralph approached his service to the bank much as he approached his military service. Difficult times called for perseverance and resolve, with a constant focus on the purpose for which he had been called to serve.
Ralph led the bank through the post-Korean war period of the 1950’s and the closure of coal mines in the area. He guided the bank through the turbulent 1960’s. He assessed population shifts in the area and opened a new banking center in Staunton in the 1970’s. He navigated the bank through the Savings and Loan Crisis of the 1980’s. Through the 1990’s, he expanded the bank’s influence into different local markets with the opening of new branches. Even during times of transition, Ralph remained focused on maintaining quality employees to provide exceptional service and competitive products to bank customers.
Working with Mr. Oltmann, Dean Oettel made significant contributions to FNB during his long banking career. Mr. Oettel joined the bank as an employee in 1959. He served as president of FNB from 1984 through 1990, until Ralph Oltmann returned as president for a four-year period.
Ralph Oltmann and Dean Oettel served as mentors to the bank’s current president, Larry Ziglar, who joined the bank in 1976. Larry’s strong work ethic and commitment to the bank’s success provided him with opportunities to work in each area of the bank. Larry’s experience in roles ranging from teller to CFO allowed him to become intricately familiar with each facet of FNB operations before he assumed the role of president in 1994. Because of his significant experience in most areas, Larry understands the importance of hiring the most qualified employee for each position. Carrying on the legacy of his predecessors, Larry is committed to community service, remaining active in banking organizations and on local boards of directors.
FNB’s strong management team, highly qualified employees, and dedication to serving its diverse customer base have provided for its continued success, even during the recent economic downturn and banking crisis. The bank has grown from $23 million in assets and 15 employees in 1976 to $490 million in assets and 134 employees in 2015. A single bank branch in Staunton has expanded into nine branches that serve surrounding communities. FNB continues to leverage technology to streamline bank operations and provide an expanded product line and convenient services to its customers.
Today, management of FNB is still very much a family affair. Josephine Oltmann serves as chairperson emeritus and her daughter, Celeste Hardnock, is chairman. Celeste’s son, Christopher was recently appointed as a director and serves as a key member of the youngest generation of employees at the bank. Led by three generations of family members, FNB is strongly committed to serving the needs of both long-standing and future customers.
View more FNB historical pictures.