Our history is embedded in the stories of many families. After all, we've been here as family farms and businesses have passed from one generation to another. We have seen the comings and goings of everything from horse-drawn wagons and Model T's to modern-day SUVs. At Heartland Bank, our community involvement goes beyond the dollars and cents of banking. It's a testament to our commitment to the people – to our communities, our families, and all their dreams. It demonstrates we care about the economic, cultural and social development of the communities we serve.
We founded Heartland Bank, formerly known as Geneva State Bank, on March 27, 1899. Our legacy began on the second floor of the Fraternity Temple in Geneva, NE, which is the very site where Heartland Bank's main office is currently located. The new bank prospered, operations ran smoothly, and relationships were formed.
That is, until the fall of 1904.
In the early morning hours of October 24, 1904, the entire building burned to the ground. The fire certainly could have been the end of our story. Instead, it became a remarkable demonstration of the young institution's intelligent and committed management.
While the building was still burning, hours before daylight, they were knocking on doors throughout town trying to secure another location. The following day, Geneva State Bank opened for business at the regular hour in a temporary location. Two years later, a new bank building was erected.
Like many of our customers, we are a family-owned business. The current owner's, the Wilkins family, first association with Geneva State Bank came in 1908 when Earl H. Wilkins served as bookkeeper. After 25 years, in 1933, Earl became the president of the bank for almost 40 years. Hugh F. Wilkins accepted a position at the bank in 1948 and succeeded his father as president. Hugh's son, Hugh C. (Cam) Wilkins, was elected as president in 1986 and held the position until his passing in 2009. At that time, John C. Wilkins assumed the role of President and CEO which he still holds today.