There’s something about living on the South Dakota prairie that makes a person want to put down roots and build something that lasts. In the wake of the first Dakota land boom, in the young and thriving, dirt-road town of Alpena, L.N. Loomis had his own vision. In 1888, he opened the doors to the Bank of Alpena, a private institution, providing a safe place for people to keep their hard-earned money and watch it grow. In a few short years others joined Loomis. D.C. Wallace and H.S. Royer invested in the bank and the founder’s vision in exchange for six thousand dollars in capital stock. The bank was officially chartered on January 8, 1892.
The bank was located in a small building just west of the Odd Fellows Hall, but moved in 1902 to a newly built home on the corner across the street. With a change in location and the issue of $6000 in additional capital stock, a change in management also took place. O.L. Braunson was appointed president and D.C. Wallace became cashier.
Drought, dust, insects and bad weather changed the lives of the people living in the Dakotas. Just before the Dirty Thirties struck the Midwest, the stockholders voluntarily closed the bank to avoid serious disaster. But, it didn't take long to reorganize and reopen. During the forties and fifties, the bank grew in customers and capital. The lucrative bank's presidency repeatedly changed hands from Mr. Schull to Robert Cook, to Charles Brammer to Howard Peters, who decided to build a branch bank in Wolsey.
Spreading its wings and its influence, the parent bank was moved to Wessington Springs in 1964. With three banking locations, the name of the bank was changed to American State Bank to reflect its growth and its vision.
With minds for finance and a shared commitment to service, Leland Steele and his son Jack purchased American State Bank in 1972. Both men brought their expertise to the venture: Leland, from the South Dakota taxation department in Pierre and with the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Huron; and Jack, from an accounting firm in Sioux City and the Farmers and Merchants Bank.
Both Leland and Jack were committed to the bank’s key values:
- Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
- Never compromise integrity.
- Be personally responsible for finding ways to continue to improve.
- The team at the bank will be known for friendliness, compassion and trustworthiness.
Leland and Jack worked diligently for the next eight years together on the strategy and direction for the bank until the unfortunate death of Leland in April 1980.
During the 90s, American State Bank was still growing strong, opening two more branches in South Dakota - one in Mellette and one in Miller. A new bank building was also completed in Wessington Springs. Preston, Jack Steele’s son, brought the third generation of the family into the banking business. He traveled throughout the state, learning all he could about the bank’s products and services, later settling in at the Wolsey location as a loan officer. He now serves as Chairman of the Board.
In the spring of 2002, growth was on horizon once again and a sixth branch was added in Huron at the corner of 18th and Dakota. In that same year, Lynn Schneider took over the reins as President and CEO. The bank embraced a new trust department and investment brokerage to better serve the demands of its customers. In 2002 the name of the bank was also changed to American Bank & Trust and the organization incorporated a soaring eagle into the logo. Within the next 4 years, the Huron market saw unprecedented growth and the bank expanded its facility. A second Huron location was also added at Walmart.
In 2011 the bank purchased a location in De Smet and three years later a merger was completed with American State Bank in Pierre. In February 2016, the bank opened its most recent location in southern Sioux Falls.
Today, American Bank & Trust is strong and continues to respond to the demand for a better banking experience, building on the vision and values established by our founders nearly 125 years ago. But while we continue to grow, it is our team of employees that provide the exceptional services that have made us a success. They share our vision and values and serve our customers every day with friendliness, compassion and trustworthiness.