From Steel Country to Corn Country

Chick was the son of a railroad man, born and raised in Pennsylvania Steel country. When Chick came to the heart of the Corn Belt as a young state bank examiner in 1950, and two years later bought the Bank of Wood River, he didn’t know a combine from a cattle prod. He didn’t look too much like a farmer either. “People didn’t quite know what to think. Here’s our banker?” recalled Lew Welch, who was a special agent for Hartford Insurance at the time. Fran Lowell, Chick’s Secretary for many years, concurred that Wood River didn’t exactly embrace Chick at first. “I remember the day Chick came to town and John Caveny ran into him. ‘Oh, he’s so damn young,’ Caveny says. ‘He’s a little different than we are. I don’t think he’ll last.’” Time would prove Caveny wrong. In fact, the prosperous farmer and influential landowner became a loyal customer of Chick’s as did many of the old-line farm families in the Platte Valley.

Chick says he learned the business of farming from them. “Guys like Chris Opp over in the German bottom country southeast of town…When I first came, if somebody here talked to me about credit, I’d catch Chris in town – never talked to him by phone – I’d ask him about people. And Emil and Leo Thelen did the same for me.” Emil was really the founder of the Bank of Wood River, when as a grain dealer he convinced Elmer Huxtable to move his bank charter from Phillips to Wood River on Aug 11, 1936. Elmer Huxtable managed the bank from 1936 to November 1949, when he sold his interest to Will E. Dean and James I. Dean. Emil Thelen was president of the Bank of Wood River during this period. Emil was still president of the bank in July of 1952, but he agreed to allow Chick to become president later in the year when the bank applied for FDIC insurance. Emil continued as vice president until his retirement, and then Leo continued as an officer. The Thelen family remains shareholders in Heritage Group Inc. to this day.

Chick worked long hours, calling on everyone in sight to attract bank customers and sell insurance. By July of 1957, he had First National Lincoln paid in full and only owed Dr. Bilon $16,000. By this time he had the bank up to $1,275,000 in deposits, $673,000 in loans and $150,000 in capital. The family was growing at home as well. Craig arrived June 28, 1955, Bob August 27, 1956, Sam on the same date one year later, and Matt December 19, 1959. Sara did not arrive until March 13, 1967.

The Heritage Story
Then and Now
Chick Moyer: The Early Years
Chick’s War Years
Chick Moyer: College & First Career
Wood River: The Value of Friendship
From Steel Country to Corn Country
Building the Team in Wood River
The Stromsburg Opportunity
Opportunity in Aurora
Heading North to Neligh
Growing into Grand Island
Three Became One
City National Bank in Hastings
Kearney Completes Tri-City Operations
Acquisition of Sherman County and Howard County Bank
Heading Northwest into the Sandhills
Leading the Company Forward
$100 Million Reasons to Invest with Heritage Bank
Technology’s Influence on the Industry
More Than Just a Bank
“The Best is Yet to Come”

image_pdfimage_print