Founded in 1885, as Mark Tully’s Exchange Bank, our institution has steadfastly committed itself to preserving the traditions of rural banking and bringing that style of service to new markets. First Farmers Bank & Trust is a privately held financial institution dedicated to serving its communities with state of the art banking products with old fashioned service. In the dynamic world of financial services, we at First Farmers pride ourselves on retaining our hometown flavor and quality customer service, while providing innovative commercial lending and deposit products at competitive rates.
Mark Tully, our original founder, was born in Ireland in 1837 and came to Xenia, Indiana (later to be renamed Converse, Indiana) in the late 1850s. By 1885, at the age of 48, he established a banking business that quickly became known as one of the most solid and dependable in the area. With investment from other area businessmen, the operation became known as the Farmer State Bank in 1907. The institution successfully navigated its way through the tumultuous times of the Great Depression and several agricultural hardships to eventually merge with local competitor First National Bank in 1946 to form First Farmers National Bank.
Over the course of the next 45 years, the new bank would face some of the greatest challenges to community-style banking. Over that time period, banking deregulation, increased competitive pressures, and dynamic economic conditions facilitated the need to become a larger and more diverse operation. The addition of a trust and insurance department further increased the types of financial services offered. Mergers with the State Bank of Amboy in 1975 and Union State Bank of Windfall in 1990 helped the bank achieve the asset base needed to become a multi-county institution. Product diversification allowed the bank to serve a broader type of customer as the loan portfolio grew significantly in mortgage, consumer and commercial credit.
By 1995, the bank served five counties with eight different offices. Now called First Farmers Bank and Trust, the institution launched an aggressive growth campaign that resulted in the construction of four new offices and the acquisition of two bank offices in new markets. A dramatic increase in ATM networks and a telephone bank service were established. In early 1998, in cooperation with Raymond James Financial of St. Petersburg Florida, First Farmers Investments was founded, adding the ability to provide a full array of stock, mutual, and other investment products.
Through expansion efforts in the last decade, FFBT purchased 10 branch locations and expanded operations into several new market areas including Wabash, Logansport, Culver, Knox, North Judson, Marion, and Russiaville while adding additional office facilities in Peru to help house an ever-growing operational staff. Beginning in 2012, the bank expanded its footprints to include 7 branches in Illinois. In late 2015 and early 2016 the bank also acquired 2 new locations in Fairmount, IN and Flora, IN.
First Farmers Bank & Trust now serves over 50,000 clients throughout Indiana and Illinois from conveniently located branch offices and has become one of the premier community banks in the Midwest.
With almost 400 employees and over $1.5 billion in assets, the bank has come a long way from Mark Tulley’s original Exchange and is now the largest Agricultural bank east of the Mississippi River as designated by the FDIC. But central to the bank focus is the commitment to remain an independent institution, free to change dynamically to meet the needs of its customers and communities.
First Farmers Bank & Trust is proud of its rich tradition as a solid financial force with the highest of ideals. As we face the challenges of the next 125 years, we will continue to focus on our strength of providing state of the art banking…with old-fashioned service.