The History of Capaha Bank
Capaha Bank has changed quite a bit since it began as the Tamms State Bank in November 1955 in Tamms, Illinois. In the early 1950’s Tamms was a small but bustling community with a population of around 700. The town was home to some industry, most notably the switching yards operated by the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad; however, for the town to grow and prosper, the local business leaders felt that a strong bank was needed.
The Tamms business leaders reached an agreement with Barney Fisher, who was then president of Security Bank and Trust Company of Cairo, IL. Under the agreement Fisher would invest 51% of the capital needed to start the bank, and local Tamms investors would provide the other 49%. William F. (Bill) Eichoff, another Cairo banker, was hired to be the bank’s first managing officer, and the bank opened for business in November 1955.
Eichoff ran the bank for eighteen years, retiring on December 31, 1973. Between the time it opened in 1955 until Eichoff’s retirement in 1973, the bank had achieved over $4 million in assets, which was considered very good growth for the time. When Eichoff retired, he was replaced by John R. Abercrombie, a young man who had grown up in Tamms. Abercrombie had no prior banking experience, but he brought an element of youth and energy to the bank that produced significant growth over the ensuing years.
In 1982 Security Bank and Trust Company of Cairo was declared insolvent by the FDIC and was closed. This event created an opportunity for the Tamms State Bank to open its first branch. While bank branches are commonplace today, the opening of a branch at that time was quite unusual since branch banking had just recently been approved by the Illinois legislature. The new Cairo Branch opened for business on August 15, 1983. The new banking office was readily accepted by the community, and the bank doubled in assets from $12 million to $24 million by the end of 1990.
In early 1995 the bank’s management began to explore the idea of expansion into other markets. Several Southern Illinois markets were investigated, but all evidence pointed to the Cape Girardeau/Jackson, MO market as offering the most potential for growth. Crossing state lines presented several regulatory challenges, and eventually the bank applied for an Illinois Savings Bank charter in order to achieve its goals. The charter was granted in February 1997, and the name of the bank was changed from Tamms State Bank to Capaha Bank in order to reflect the bank’s commitment to the new Cape Girardeau/Jackson market. The bank’s first Missouri branch was opened at 3168 William Street in Cape Girardeau on June 9, 1997.
In 1998, to handle the growing number of customers and transactions, the bank established a new operations center at #1 South Main Street in downtown Cape Girardeau. The bank’s expansion continued in 2001 as the Jackson, MO branch opened in February and the Anna, IL branch was acquired from Union Planters Bank in September. Also in 2001 the Operations Center in downtown Cape Girardeau was expanded to accommodate corporate functions as well as human resources, training and technology. As 2001 drew to a close, Capaha Bank had expanded to five branches, with two in Missouri and three in Illinois. By the end of 2001 the bank had grown in assets to $90.2 million, and in 2002 the bank reached $100 million in assets for the first time in its history.
On July 31, 2006 Capaha Bank relocated its Jackson, MO branch to new larger quarters at 727 West Main Street in Jackson. In addition to its greater size, the new Jackson facility provides expanded business hours and improved services such as drive-up banking and safe deposit boxes. On September 11, 2006 the bank opened its second Cape Girardeau branch at 380 N. Kingshighway. This new branch, in addition to offering easy access, convenience, and a full range of loan and deposit services, also provides a warm atmosphere and a unique environment that our customers find very pleasant. The new branch has received favorable recognition from both business and civic leaders for its extraordinary landscaping and attractive sculptures. Capaha Bank is very proud of its significant contribution to the beauty and attractiveness of the City of Cape Girardeau.
In 2007, Capaha Bank celebrated the 10th Anniversary of its William Street Branch in Cape Girardeau. In 2008 another milestone was reached as the bank celebrated the 25th Anniversary of its Cairo, IL Branch. Just as the William Street Branch holds a special place in the bank’s history as our first Missouri branch, the Cairo Branch also has special significance, since it was the bank’s very first branch. Also, it was opened in the early days of branch banking in Illinois, so it came under special rules and restrictions that are detailed in the Cairo Branch History. (The branch history can be found under the “Locations” tab.)
Today, Capaha Bank is approaching $200 million in assets. And, as exciting as Capaha Bank’s past has been, the future holds the promise of even greater accomplishments. The bank has enjoyed solid growth since entering the Cape Girardeau/Jackson market in 1997 and has established a superior reputation for professionalism and customer service. The bank’s well-established reputation for fast local decision-making, friendly professional banking service, and active and sincere community involvement will ensure Capaha Bank’s growth and prosperity for many years into the future.