Hocking Valley to celebrate 50 years of service

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Hocking Valley Bank in Athens will celebrate 50 years in business on Monday with a Dress Down Day fundraiser for WOUB-TV, which also is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Bank employees will donate an hour's wages, which will be matched by the bank.

When Hocking Valley Bank formed in 1963, there were two other banks operating in Athens — Athens National Band and Security Bank — both owned by a Cincinnati interest.

"Local leaders believed that a locally owned and controlled bank would better serve Athens County," according to Bick Weissenrieder, Hocking Valley Bank CEO and chairman of the board.

The bank's first president, Howard Stout, stated the goals of the new enterprise in his first letter to shareholders in January of 1964: "We hope with your help to make Hocking Valley Bank the biggest little bank in Athens County — big in size, big in strength, big in complete banking service unequalled by any bank of any size, big in friendliness. Big enough to serve you, small enough to know you."

The bank's longest-serving employee is President Scott Nisley, who started in 1972 in his senior year of high school working half-days at the bank as part of his distributive education program at Athens High School. Second in seniority is Weissenrider, who came to the bank in 1973.

In total, the bank has 20 employees who have each been with Hocking Valley more than 20 years each, representing more than 550 years of banking experience.

The bank opened for business on Aug. 12, 1963, in temporary space at 30 E. State St. in Athens, and relocated a year later to the bank building constructed at 7 W. Stimson Ave., where its headquarters have been located ever since. Three additional offices are located on Court Street, Richland Avenue and East State Street in Athens, as well as branches in Albany, Coolville and The Plains.

Each year the bank holds Dress Down Days to raise funds for various local organizations and causes.