In October 1906, a group of Granite Falls citizens, wanting to bring banking closer to home, invested $8,000 to start a bank in their community. Ms. Lula Hickman was the first depositor of the day that closed with total deposits of $901.68.From those modest deposits more than one hundred years ago, Bank of Granite's assets have grown to more than one billion dollars. Today, Bank of Granite serves Western North Carolina from the Piedmont to the Mountains with 18 offices in seven counties.
Much has changed since Ms. Hickman made the first deposit in 1906, but one thing will never change-the bank's dedication to customer service, community, and helping neighbors.
When Bank of Granite was organized in October of 1906, Granite Falls itself was a "very few horses" town. The horseless carriage was still to come. This could well have been one of the big reasons for the bank's organization. Local citizens grew tired of having to make the horse and buggy ride to Hickory or Lenoir for their banking needs. The idea was to have a hometown bank which could provide services convenient to local businesses and individuals.
The Bank Endures World Events
Since the first day's deposits of $901.68, and despite two World Wars and the Great depression, Bank of Granite continued to show modest growth. Many changes to the bank's lone office in downtown Granite Falls occurred after the depression and up to the 1950s including adding a second floor, installing a drive-through window, and adding space for a consumer loan department. By 1954 resources were at $1.2 million with five employees.
A New Era Begins
In 1954 Bank of Granite was purchased by a group of Caldwell County citizens who wanted to broaden the institution's opportunities for service. The same year, John Forlines, Jr. joined the bank as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors.
During Forlines' more than 50 years of leadership, the bank experienced outstanding growth. The first expansion came in 1960 when Bank of Granite opened an office in downtown Lenoir followed in the same year with an office in Hudson. In July of 1969, a modern new bank and headquarters was built on Main Street in Granite Falls replacing the original 1906 building two blocks away (which today is part of the Town of Granite Falls Town Hall and Offices). In 1970, the downtown Hickory office was opened marking the bank's expansion into Catawba County. An office in the Whitnel community of Lenoir was opened in 1979.
In 1982, local veteran banker Charles Snipes joined Bank of Granite as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer forming a decades-long partnership with John Forlines, lasting until the latter's retirement as CEO in 2005. During that time, the bank expanded to a total of six offices in Caldwell County, seven in Catawba County, and one each in Morganton, Boone, Wilkesboro, and Winston-Salem.
Bank of Granite Corporation became the bank holding company in 1987. In 1997, it acquired Winston-Salem based mortgage specialist GLL Associates renaming it Granite Mortgage. The Corporation entered the Charlotte-area market when it made its first bank acquisition of the three Commerce Bank branches in July of 2003. The Matthews office opened later that year joined the Bank of Granite uptown Charlotte, SouthPark, and Cornelius offices in Mecklenburg County.
A Century of Solid Service
2006 was a milestone year in the history of Bank of Granite. After entering the Iredell County market in downtown Statesville, the bank culminated a year-long celebration of its centennial with events for the public and employees where it all began the century before-downtown Granite Falls.
With Charles Snipes presiding, who was named CEO the year before, the bank placed a time capsule in the square in downtown Granite Falls on the day of the centennial, October 12, 2006, at a well-attended public ceremony. Two days later on Saturday, October 14, the time capsule was dedicated by the employees during a special celebration that included their families.
Another New Era
In December 2006, Scott Anderson was named President of Bank of Granite Corporation and Bank of Granite. He was named Chief Executive Officer upon Snipes retirement in early 2008.
Scott is committed to the bank's core values of neighbors helping neighbors and providing our customers with outstanding service and solutions. While this high-touch legacy is a top priority, Scott is also committed to bringing our customers all the high-tech and cutting edge banking solutions that some would not expect from a community bank. Bank of Granite was among the first to offer electronic statements, online banking, imaged checks, online bill pay, and more recently, mobile banking, and remote deposit capture services.
After more than a century much has changed in the world since Ms. Hickman made the first deposit. One thing will never change-the bank's dedication to customer service, community, and helping neighbors.
Click here to view the Bank of Granite 100+ year timeline.
Click below to view archived sections from past “Our History” postings.