Founded in 1917, it was at first a State Bank known as Peoples Bank of LaFollette, Tennessee.
The Bank was founded on the same corner on which it now stands. It was not founded as a result of a planned course of action by a large group of bankers or financiers. Quite to the contrary, this bank is a result of a vision shared by two men of high character. Their plan began to materialize from almost nothing to a bank of presently 150 million dollars in resources. Who were these two men?
David Reynolds and Sam A. Mars met on the corner of Tennessee and Central Avenues one morning. They both recognized the need for a good, sound bank in LaFollette that could grow into an institution of finance capable of serving LaFollette and the surrounding areas, and one that would be organized in such a way and staffed by the caliber of people to understand the hardships of depressions and chaos in the farming and mining section of Tennessee. It was David Reynolds and Sam A. Mars who began putting together the fibers of details to weave the bank into the organization it is today.
It took several meetings and many plans to get the idea across, and finally in April 1917, the first meeting was held in the office of Harvey G. Murray, a LaFollette attorney, and it was decided to apply for a charter of incorporation. Present at that meeting were Wheeler A. W. Carden, W. F. Burnette, L. C. Crewe, David Reynolds, and Harvey G. Murray. Directors elected at that time were Wheeler A. W. Carden, L. C. Crewe, S. A. Mars, David Reynolds, G. S. Stiner, W. F. Burnette, and Harvey G. Murray, Vice-President; and David Reynolds, Cashier.
In May, 1917, Wayne Longmire of Lake City was elected Assistant Cashier and Bookkeeper. The other officer elected in the ensuring period was W. M. Ausmus, the second Vice-President. These were the officers of the Bank during its formative years.
The Bank opened for business on May 22, 1917, with a capital stock of $25,000 and deposits of $1,495.00.
The Bank was chartered as The Peoples National Bank in December 1923. G. B. Gallaher joined the bank in 1920 and was elected president in October 1926.
This safe, sound, and secure bank survived the 1929 stock market crash and the Great Depression. In 1935, the Bank's resources totaled $583,686.74.
Mildred Childress Reynolds (David Reynolds' daughter-in-law) joined the bank in the summer of 1932. She was named assistant cashier in 1935 and cashier in 1954. Mrs. Reynolds became vice president and cashier in January 1961 and executive vice president and cashier in December 1963. On February 18, 2003, Mrs. Reynolds was reelected to a three-year term on the Bank's Board of Directors. Mrs. Reynolds retired from the Board in 2006 after 74 years of service.
In 1960, under the direction of its president, G. B. Gallaher, the Bank moved into its second location on the same street corner. Deposits totaled 4,842,816.68.
John T. Reynolds (son of David Reynolds) joined the bank in 1953 and was elected assistant cashier in 1958. He became executive V. P. in 1959.
In December 1963, John T. Reynolds was elected President. R. L. Sharp was the Chairman of the Board. John T. Reynolds's sister-in-law, Mildred C. Reynolds was the executive vice-president and cashier. The directors included Jon L. Ausmus, Edward Balloff, William C. Claiborne, E. E. Hill, John T. Reynolds, Mildred Reynolds, David B. Rogers, Alfred W. Saulsberry, and R. L. Sharp.
In 1999, the Bank's main office moved to a new 15,200 square foot facility constructed beside the previous main office building located in the main business district of LaFollette. Over the course of the last 25 years, the Bank has expanded to three additional locations. The first, the Jacksboro Office, was added in 1976. The Valley Office in rural LaFollette followed it in 1982. Lastly, the Bank grew into Anderson County and opened the Norris/Clinton office in 1994.
The Peoples National Bank became Peoples Bank of the South on February 15, 2007. As a part of the name conversion, the bank changed its charter from a national bank to a State of Tennessee chartered financial institution. At the time of conversion, the bank's assets were $134,000,000 with four locations in Campbell and Anderson counties.
Peoples Bank opened its fifth location in Oneida on June 25, 2007. With our entry into Scott County, the bank now does business in three counties.
In October 2007, Board Chairman Mr. Edward Balloff relinquished his duties as chairman. Mr. John T. Reynolds assumed the role as Board Chairman on November 20, 2007.
On December 30, 2011, the Bank closed its Valley Office after 29 years. Campbell County operations were consolidated at the two remaining banks in downtown LaFollette and Jacksboro.