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First Bank of Utica

"We are proud to carry on the family and community tradition of the First National Bank of Utica," said Jim Liggett, who now serves as president of the bank.

(Reprinted with permission from a story published in the Seward County Independent, 2004)

Liggett Brothers Continue Family-Owned Bank Tradition.

First National Bank of Utica Maintains Local Ownership for 122 Years.

Combine a strong bank with a strong family and you have the First Bank of Utica. In 1882, the Liggett family built the First National Bank of Utica on a philosophy of family values and a commitment to the community of Utica. Today, more than 122 years later, that tradition continues. Brothers Jim, Scott, and Lee B. Liggett purchased the First National Bank of Utica from their father, Lee G. Liggett. The transaction was finalized on Jan. 16, 2004, making Jim, Scott, and Lee the fourth generation of Liggetts to own the bank.

The Liggett family takes great pride in the strong multi-generational business they have created. When faced with buying or selling the bank, the Liggett brothers made the only choice they could. "We are proud to carry on the family and community tradition of the First National Bank of Utica," said Jim Liggett, who now serves as president of the bank. "The three of us share a common goal of maintaining and growing an independent and locally focused bank in Utica."

In 1882, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Shows opened in Nebraska, Franklin D. Roosevelt was born, Robert Louis Stevenson was writing Treasure Island, and George Liggett was busy opening the First National Bank of Utica. Liggett operated the bank until his death in about 1914. The next George Liggett then took the helm and operated the bank until his death in 1964. For the four decades to follow, Lee G. Liggett served as the bank's president, owning the majority of the bank from 1982 to January 2004. In addition, Lee G. Liggett's brother (yet another George Liggett) worked in the bank for nearly 35 years until his death in 2002. Now Lee G. Liggett's three sons have taken the reins of the family-owned bank.

"My father taught us that it takes a well-balanced company built on a strong moral foundation to make it in the world," said the youngest son, Jim Liggett. "Thanks to his guidance—and the guidance of the Liggetts before him—the bank has been able to succeed through the economic ups and downs of the last century and a quarter."

While the bank remains focused on serving and investing in the community, the First National Bank of Utica plans to keep pace with industry trends such as Internet banking to allow for improved service and greater flexibility. To achieve this, the bank will rely on the insight and experience of the First Bank of Utica team, including Larry Rogers, executive vice president; Lynn Hoops, senior loan officer; Joyce Petersen, cashier (who worked for Jim Liggett's grandfather in the 1960s); and Wayne Bruns, business development and marketing officer. Other team members include: Betty Daake, Betty Dittmar, Mary Carlson, and Rose Winkelmann. The bank also owns an insurance business operated by Carol Scherer.

"We appreciate the commitment of our staff to help us reach this point and for their future efforts as we look forward to the next 122 years," said Jim Liggett. "We are optimistic about the future of small town banks and truly believe that the best is yet to come."

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