Doing More Than Their Fair Share
When most Americans turn 65, they contemplate retirement, eying a retreat to a sunnier, seaside locale and a slower, steadier pace.
For the Community State Bank of Orbisonia, their 65th year proved that they are far from retiring—or tired.
Their 65th anniversary celebration was more subdued than their 60th, when they held a Community Success Contest that attracted 60 entries and ultimately awarded $30,000 to 10 of the region’s most deserving charities. The contest was representative of the community service work the bank has done every year for 65 years, but on a much grander scale.
Their activism and generosity earned the bank the President’s Award in the “Grow Your Community” program from the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers at the September convention.
The big-hearted little bank is located in the scenic central mountains of Pennsylvania, in a picture-perfect vacation destination that attracts tourists in search of camping, boating and other outdoor activities. The town of Orbisonia is peanut-sized, with only about 500 people in its tight-knit patchwork of streets.
But the bank’s growth has been anything but. The bank’s market area now spans three counties – Huntingdon, Bedford and Fulton Counties, with seven offices.
As Huntingdon County’s only locally owned bank headquartered in the region, bank leaders and employees all make it a point to invest and reinvest in their hometown.
CEO Trudy Everhart has been a trusted employee of the bank for 36 years, working first part-time as a high school senior through a co-op program.
Since then, she has held almost every position in the bank. She jokes that she has finally decided this is where she is staying.
When Everhart began, the bank was seven miles from her home and had only one diminutive office. All mortgages and savings accounts were recorded on paper ledgers. Then about 30 years ago, the first primitive computers arrived on the scene.
“It’s never stopped.”
Today, the bank has seven offices, using the latest banking technology.
Everhart is well aware of her unique role as a female CEO in a heavily male-dominated field.
“The only thing that hasn’t changed for us, is we are still locally owned and operated,” Everhart said emphatically. “We never bought another financial institution to expand market share.”
They moved into other areas through organic growth.
Meanwhile, “we have watched all the community banks around us get gobbled up by big banks,” she stated.
In the midst of the merger mania, Orbisonia Bank employees just continue to do what they do best, provide excellent service.
Everhart believes the secret to their success is clear: “We are still a community bank.”
“People come in and see familiar faces and can talk to anyone in the bank they want.”
She recalls a time when she went to banking school, and the instructor asked how many of the class had ever had lunch with the bank CEO. Her colleagues were shocked to discover that she brown-bagged it with the CEO almost every day, or ran for lunch to the nearby convenience store together. Bank customers can do the same.
“Our CEO has never been behind glass doors, where you need an appointment and must go through 30 people to get to them,” Everhart said.
The bank gives to all organizations, from youth sports to the food bank.
“We try to help everyone. If it’s something good in the community, we support it.”
Proof positive is the contest they sponsored for their 60th anniversary year.
Through a competition, advertised through large billboards, the bank marked their anniversary by awarding $5,000 in grants to the following winning nonprofits:
1. Shade Gap PTO project
2. Huntingdon Area Meals on Wheels
3. JC Blair Hospital Auxiliary Children’s Health Fair
4. Hustontown Library
5. American Youth Soccer Organization Broad Top Area
In addition, the board of directors were so touched by the number of organizations that entered the contest, they decided that these groups should receive Honorable Mentions and $500 each:
1. Camp Cadet Fulton County
2. Three Springs Senior Center
3. Angel Wings Organization
4. Crossroads Pregnancy Center
5. Love’s Closet
6. Women in Need
7. Mapleton Community Pool
8. Sonshine Recreation Ministry
9. First Book Huntingdon
10. Saxton Area Youth Baseball
In 2014, the bank embarked upon another marvelous community venture, bringing together everyone from part-timers to the Chairman of the Board to help bring smiles to small children.
After an external amusement company abruptly cancelled its contract to participate as the ride vendor for Orbisonia’s annual and eagerly anticipated Homecoming Celebration, the committee had to decide whether to cancel the event, or carry on. Even though another ride company could not be engaged, they decided to continue on with the long standing tradition.
When the employees were made aware of this situation, they came up with a plan of action to help save the event.
The CSB Board agreed and permitted employees to plan an event to help replace the missing amusement rides. More than 65 employees and their families worked for weeks planning, organizing and building the games and props that would be used for Family Fun Day.
The entire event, held for three hours on August 16, 2014, was free for children aged 12 and under—even the hot dogs, chips, drinks, and sno-cones. Tikes also enjoyed free face painting, a petting zoo, pony rides, a bounce house, an obstacle course, scavenger hunts, and more. “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast was on hand for photographs with the kids as part of the Disney theme, joined by princes and princesses from the local theatre company.
A bounce house, obstacle course and scavenger hunt were set up along with other games, including balloon darts, a football toss and plinko. At each game the children earned tickets that could be cashed in for prizes that included bank wallets, toys, treats and school supplies.
That first year, organizers had no idea how many people to expect. Happily, over 250 people came.
Along with the local Lions Club, which owned the fairgrounds, many of Orbisonia’s local churches, EMS providers, the fire company, library, the Historical Society, and other volunteer organizations were able to raise money for their causes at the event.
“Family Fun Day was a huge success that helped keep the community tradition of Homecoming alive in Orbisonia,” said Pat Berrier, the bank’s Marketing Specialist, who also serves on the Homecoming Committee.
CSB continued their involvement with Family Fun Day in 2015 and are already coming up with ideas for the 2016 event.
Some employees do behind-the-scenes work but cannot come that day. Others can work the event but cannot help as extensively with the planning. All of the games were constructed by bank employees and their spouses.
“I think our employees and their families enjoyed it as much as the kids,” Everhart said.
“We all noticed this: No one was seen staring at their cell phone. They were all engaged with their kids, and having a great time,” Berrier said.
“The kids loved it.”
At the 2016 event, the bank will be adding some more activities. They are planning to include a children’s health fair, and by incorporating a “health education twist” bank organizers hope to keep the fair fresh and new.
“It’s a lot of work. We are exhausted at the end of the day, but it’s a wonderful feeling to know that so many kids had a fun afternoon and at no cost to the parents,” Berrier admitted.
“I really believe, in a community our size, the community bank plays a major role. We have to be attentive and respond whenever possible to what the community needs,” Everhart said.
“A lot of our attention is focused on our children and their activities, such as sports teams, scouting, 4-H projects and other activities that help them excel,” Berrier explained.
“We feel like we need to give back” Everhart said.
That is the spirit that compelled the bank’s founder to act upon his vision in the dawn of the 1950s.
According to Berrier, the bank was started by Emory Parsons, Sr. He believed that Orbisonia needed a bank to serve the community, since the closest bank was 25 miles away.
Working families had difficulty reaching the bank during regular business hours.
Parsons knew the town needed its own homegrown local bank that cared about the community.
The newly formed board bought a small parcel of land in Orbisonia that was little more than 45 feet x 42 feet in October of 1950. The new bank was completed by the end of that year and opened for business on January 11, 1951.
Like Everhart, Berrier came into the bank as a teller. She is now in sales and marketing. She has been a CSB customer since she was in first grade when a bank employee visited the school each week helping students open and maintain their savings accounts.
When the bank opened its doors for business on January 11, 1951, assets reached $326,362 as of June 30 of that year.
Now assets reach over $315 million.
The bank holding company, Orbisonia Community Bancorp, was formed in September 1987.
Supplementing the main office in Orbisonia are six branches.
In 1986, Orbisonia opened its first branch in Waterfall. That office was expanded twice to keep up with growth, more than doubling its size.
They also have branch offices in Mount Union, Smithfield Township, Saxton, Three Springs, and McConnellsburg.
While starting out in a tiny building that was only 32 feet x 30 feet, the bank expanded its main offices in the year 2000 to encompass a sprawling complex, which includes their operations center, training facilities, a new board room and community meeting room.
“All of our 120 employees are part of the communities in our market area,” Berrier said. “It’s a win-win situation and that’s what Community State Bank has always been about.”
“I’m proud of the contributions that we have made and look forward to continued partnership with our communities,” Everhart said, “It’s been an exciting journey.”
This Community Bank Profile can be found featured in the February 2016 issue of Transactions. Not a subscriber? Visit the Transactions page on this website or call PACB at 717-231-7447 to start receiving the magazine.