OKLAHOMA CITY – While large banks are attractive for many reasons, small, community banks are preferred by some. That’s in no small part because virtually everybody in town knows everyone who works there, where their spouses are employed, who their children and grandchildren are, etc.
One such institution is The First National Bank of Fletcher, a Comanche County town of 1,134 residents, according to a 2018 U.S. Census Bureau estimate.
First National of Fletcher has been locally owned and operated for more than a century, since 1901. According to Executive Vice President Bob Bridges, the bank is owned by the Griffith family, and two family members who live in Lindsay are the major stockholders.
The bank’s customer base is rural, Bridges said, but First National has “very little” energy industry business and “some” farmers and ranchers but not a lot of either, he indicated.
“We are well diversified,” he said. “We have a decent mix” of younger, middle-aged and older customers.
Like other businesses across the state and the nation, the Fletcher bank was affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Customers are not writing as many checks as they used to, and are staying home, not spending as much money,” Bridges said.
In addition, “a couple” of the bank’s customers have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus. “We’re like everybody else.”
At least for a while, customers will be screened before they’re allowed to enter the bank lobby, Bridges said.
However, he added, “We don’t have a lot of customers who come through our lobby.” Instead, many of their patrons use the drive-through, direct deposit and/or an ATM. Like most Americans, “A lot of our customers use bank cards,” he said.
First National has six employees who work inside the bank, Bridges said.
“BestCashCow,” a bank rate site on the Internet that displays information about more than 8,000 banks and 7,700 credit unions across the nation, reported that The First National Bank of Fletcher balance sheet on March 31 showed:
• $18.78 million in assets
• $16.46 million in deposits
• $2.27 million in equity
• $219,000 in loan loss reserves
• $4.94 million in loans
Of those loans, 4.6% were commercial real estate loans, 11.26% were farm loans, 13.81% were 1-4 family residential loans, 18.06% were consumer auto loans, and 40.72% were commercial and industrial loans.