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The History of BloomBank

A successful bank is mirrored by the success of its customers. Since 1873, when BloomBank first opened its doors for business, the community prospered through the success of its businessmen and the hard work and thrift of its citizens. This financial institution has been in continuous operation ever since. It has experienced sorrow, joy, disaster, and success ingredients which have built stamina into the institution

The town of Bloomfield has an exciting history that has strongly influenced the success of the BloomBank. History can take us as far back as 1849, when Chauncy Rose came to the area and established a grist mill, smelting mill and a small bank called the Bank of Indiana. This bank was located on the shores of Richland Creek near Chauncy’s Furnace Mill. In 1856, Rose sold his holdings, receiving 200,000 dollars in cash, and moved to Terre Haute.

During the same period of time, another bank was established in 1856, called the Indiana State Bank. This bank was located in town, away from the industry on Richland Creek. Everyone in the community was excited over the fact that the discovery of iron ore in the area was going to make them rich overnight. Creek bank furnaces were built for the smelting of the ore and rafts were built to transport the refined product to New Orleans. All of this was vital for the life of the riverside bank; but sooner than expected, the iron ore deposits were exhausted and the transportation costs turned out to be astronomical. The furnaces went out-of-business and so did the Bank of Indiana. However, the Indiana State Bank continued to exist.

After the Civil War in 1863, President Lincoln signed a bill into law known as the National Currency Act. This bill probably produced the most significant change in banking history. This law required all currency to be uniform throughout the nation. Incidentally, the very first Comptroller of the Currency appointed was Hoosier, Hugh McCulloch.

In October of 1873, the owners’ interest in the Indiana State Bank was bought out and reorganized by a man named Marcus H. Shryer. Shryer changed the name of the bank to Bloomfield Bank, appointed himself president and his son cashier.

In 1887, a family dynasty commenced. William Mack Haig began working at the bank as assistant cashier. To this day there is a person related to the “Haig” family or a direct descendant of the “Haig” family affiliated with the bank.

In 1894, the Bloomfield Bank experienced it’s first robbery. In the early morning hours of October 4, the bank was the victim of the Rivers Gang, counterparts of Jesse James. They used dynamite to enter and blow the bank’s safe and escaped with $4,000, almost all the money in the vault. The town was flabbergasted. Never before had there been such a flurry of chatter and excitement. Businesses were practically suspended, school children talked about everything but their lessons, and depositors inquired immediately upon the whereabouts of their money. Fortunately, the bankers were able to appease their customers.

The turn of the century brought a new kid in town. The Citizens State Bank was chartered in January, 1900, with $30,000 in capital. Even though the Bloomfield Bank now had some stiff competition, the deposits of the bank were still very respectable.

On July 1, 1907, the controlling interest of the Shryer’s bank was purchased and the bank reorganized as a state bank under Elmer Elsworth Neal. This reorganization changed the bank’s name to Bloomfield State Bank.

Neal was known by everyone in the entire southern portion of the state, holding stock in nearly every local enterprise. His business ventures and activities in community affairs made him a very well-known and liked gentleman. Neal was unanimously named president; Cyrus Davis, vice-president; William Haig, cashier; and William’s brother, Alpha Haig, was assistant cashier. The members of the Board of Directors were the same as the officers except for one addition, C.L. Slinkard.

1907 was the beginning of one of the most important eras in Bloomfield’s banking history. For the following seventeen years, William Haig, cashier at the time, watched the $150,000 deposit figure grow to nearly half a million. The Haig brothers quickly became the dominating force in the bank. They firmly established a reputation for efficiency and courtesy to their customers. This, along with their character and personal integrity, soon had the Bloomfield State Bank known as the “Haig Bank” throughout Greene and the surrounding counties. The pseudo name for the bank died out in the late 30’s, when William and Alpha retired.

Black Tuesday arrived without warning and then a deluge of failing banks and businesses saturated the newspapers and air time on radio. In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt closed all banks for a mandatory “Bank Holiday” in order to evaluate their stability. Bloomfield State Bank survived the depression and the Bank Holiday, fulfilling the expectations of their depositors. The conservative and high quality leadership within the bank enabled the bank to endure those adverse times.

The long, grueling depression finally came to an end, and on January 1, 1940, the Citizens State Bank in Bloomfield merged with the Bloomfield State Bank. The officers of the consolidated bank were Leland S. Barkley, president; Cyrus E. Davis, vice president; and R.B. Smith, cashier. Capital increased to $50,000 and deposits totaled over $780,000. 1961 brought about a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new main building.

Assets today top $375 million, ranking the bank in the upper third in the state. If you were to ask Mark Barkley, son of Stanley Barkley and current Chairman of the Board, what the bank prides itself on today; his answer would be heritage, lineage, customer relations and most importantly, serving the community throughout the years. He is the fourth generation of the Haig/Barkley clan to lead the bank into the 21st century. The Chairman is anxiously awaiting the future, for he sees it as a period of new opportunities for the bank. Barkley heads a very progressive and competitive bank that will actively seek opportunities and challenges that will meet the financial needs of counties around Greene County. Barkley concludes by confidently stating, “With our way of thinking, we can only grow.” The courageous and determined leadership which started with Shryer and was perfected by the Haig brothers has been brought to a new level of achievement by the Barkleys.

We have stood the test of time by evolving alongside an ever-changing world—springing from the hand-written ledger days, to embrace the typewriter, the telephone, the computer, and now the Internet—while remaining loyal to you and true to our heritage. In that tradition of steady progress coupled with deeply held values, we look forward to a new chapter in our bank’s ongoing story: Effective July 1, 2015 Bloomfield State Bank officially changed its name to BloomBank. As the digital world evolves, we too must evolve in order to grow and prosper, both online and in our brick-and-mortar locations. Indeed, a bank as old as ours cannot have been around this long without planning for the future, sometimes twenty years into the future. Changing our name helps fulfill a strategic plan made over twenty years ago and has a simple purpose: Our physical presence must be consistent with our digital presence in order to adapt and evolve for the world we live in. If you break the name BloomBank down into its parts, you will understand why we chose this name so long ago. The time is now for this 142-year-old bank to bloom anew, on the strong, healthy roots of our Bloomfield heritage. The story is far from over—indeed, it’s just beginning. Welcome to BloomBank!