“Our family worked with Larry over the course of a year or more to determine the best path forward for our family business. We are seven siblings, so of course, there were differing opinions and needs. Larry helped us quickly see that despite our differences, we shared a common set of values. That gave us a grounding that sustained us through some challenging conversations. We came to a unanimous decision that we are very happy with over a year later.
Larry led us to think about more options, and to analyze each option deeply. He broadened our thinking without imposing his own views on our decision.
We know our family bond has been strengthened by this process. We could never have done this without Larry.” Ann and Albert Manning
First Iowa State Bank was originally organized as Farmers State Bank of Keosauqua and Birmingham in March of 1931. There were 70 original share-holders with controlling shares held by B.J. Howland of Pleasantville, Iowa. Before the bank was established in what is now the Van Buren Telephone Company office, there was no bank in Keosauqua.
Fred E. Ovrom purchased the controlling interest in Farmers State Bank from B.J. Howland in 1936 and continued as its controlling stockholder until his death in 1979. Fred Ovrom changed the philosophy of the bank by being a believer in making loans to local farmers and businessmen. Under Fred Ovrom’s guidance, Farmers State Bank constructed a new building between 1957 and 1958 and with new additions; this building continues to be the home of Community First Bank in Keosauqua. In 1973, Fred was succeeded by his son, Arthur P. Ovrom, and his son-in-law, John A. Manning.
In 1980, Van Buren Bancorporation was formed, creating a one-bank holding company. State Savings Bank of Cantril was purchased by the Bancorporation in 1983. A branch of the State Savings Bank was opened in Bloomfield, Iowa, in 1994. Farmers State and State Savings Bank merged into one bank in 1996, creating a Community First Bank. In October 1993, Van Buren Bancorporation formed an employee stock ownership plan, and the employees purchased 30% of the holding company. Visit First Iowa State Bank’s website.