Trust in a bank develops over time - not in a few months or years, but over decades, and in some cases, centuries. Our roots go back to the mid-nineteenth century with the founding of a bank in Carrollton, IL, in 1854. Records show this to be the oldest continuously active bank headquartered in Illinois. (Source: the FDIC Institution Directory, a national database of FDIC-insured banks)
When the bank was first established in 1854, it was operated out of David Pierson's mercantile on the east side of the public square in Carrollton. The first bank in Greene County, it was initially called simply "David Pierson, Banker." Pierson owned the first iron safe in the county and made it available to those who wished to store money securely. Many of the local farmers were paid in gold and silver coins for the livestock and grain they shipped to St. Louis via the Illinois River.
In January 1858, Pierson disposed of his dry goods business to devote all his attention to banking. The following year, he had a three-story brick building erected for his bank on the northwest corner of the Carrollton square, on the south side of North Main Street. It was the first three-story building on the square.
By 1875, all three of Pierson's sons (Ornan, Robert, and David D.) had joined him in the business. The firm was known as "David Pierson & Sons," and the bank was called "Pierson's Exchange Bank."
When David Pierson decided to retire from active participation in banking in the late 1870s, a successor organization was formed. A national charter was granted, and the bank started operating as Greene County National Bank in 1878. The Pierson sons served as officers and directors, providing continuity with Pierson's Exchange Bank. Two later generations of Pierson’s would be involved in the bank's management until 1994, when board member Julia Pierson, great-granddaughter of founder David Pierson, passed away.
In nearby Macoupin County, another bank was being organized in the county seat of Carlinville; founded in 1888 as Carlinville Bank, it then converted to The Carlinville National Bank two years later. Leadership during organization, and for the next 50 years until his death, was provided by Abraham Lincoln (A.L.) Hoblit. Descendents and relatives-by-marriage of Mr. Hoblit (namely, P.O. Landon, Charles H. Ashworth, and James T. Ashworth) have shared those responsibilities over the years with Ira McCollom and his son-in-law, Maurice Zimmer, representing another prominent family in the bank's ownership and in the community. If asked, each of these gentlemen would respond that the consistent growth and success of the organization has been due to the professionalism and genuinely helpful attitude of the bank's staff, fostering a high level of customer loyalty.
The Palmer State Bank opened for business on June 28, 1912 with the purchase of the R. E. Best Bank, one of the county's earliest banks. The Palmer Bank was originally chartered with $25,000 capital stock. Dr. J. F. Miller, a Palmer physician, served as the first President of the bank from 1912 until 1939. The bank was originally located in an old frame building in Palmer. That first site was one of the early landmarks in the village, having housed a general store, post office, and grain office before being used as a bank. The Palmer Bank boasts the distinction as one of the few banks that remained open during the Banking Holiday in the early 1930's.
On April 24, 1920 an application for permission to organize Peoples State Bank of Shipman with capital stock of $25,000 was filed. The doors to the bank opened on December 1, 1920. John E. Randle was the first cashier of the bank. On February 4, 1926 Peoples State Bank and Citizens State Bank consolidated to form Citizens State Bank of Shipman. Mr. L.E. Kelsey became cashier on May 4,1928 and continued until retirement in 1986.
In 1905, a two-story building was constructed for the Greene County bank across the street in Carrollton: still on the northwest corner of the public square but on the north side of North Main Street. This structure serves as the east wing of the bank's current Carrollton facility, with an expansion having been constructed to the west.
In Carlinville, a new building was constructed for CNB on the west side of the square in the mid-1920s. Several remodelings and expansions have allowed the bank to grow in that location to today’s 20,000 square foot headquarters.
In 1992, the headquarters of the Palmer Bank was moved to Taylorville, and in 2006 the Palmer branch was closed. In 2010 the Bank moved into a new state of the art building just down the street in Taylorville, on the corner of one of the busiest intersections in town.
Citizens State Bank’s expansion occurred in Brighton, with the construction of a branch location there in 1996.
In 1984, the shareholders of Carlinville National Bank formed a one-bank holding company, named Carlinville National Bank Shares, Inc. (CNBS). A major reason for the formation of a holding company was to be able to make a market for existing shareholder’s stock. Such an organizational structure can also facilitate expansion. In 1996, CNB purchased a branch of First of America Bank in Hillsboro, and a few months later CNBS acquired Palmer Bank in Taylorville. In 1998, the company bought Citizens State Bank of Shipman and Brighton, and in 2003 a fourth bank was acquired, Cornerstone Bank & Trust, N.A., the former Greene County National Bank, with locations in Carrollton, Jerseyville, and Alton.
In 2009, CNBS assumed the assets and liabilities of the former Corn Belt Bank & Trust headquartered in Pittsfield, with branches in Jacksonville and Clayton, MO. The following year a new branch was started by CNB in Oak Forest, IL. All four of the banks, with their twelve locations (including eight in different county seats), have now consolidated into one, namely, CNB Bank & Trust, N.A. The bank operates under the charter that dates back to the former Pierson’s Exchange Bank, making it the oldest continuously active banking charter in Illinois. Ownership ancestry has remained virtually unchanged for well over a century, and remains committed to supporting the needs of the communities served by CNBS, Inc.