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The Civista Legacy

140 Years of Banking Excellence

Hot Topics | 3 min read | Updated: Mar 2024

Black and white image of the inside Civista Bank lobby with 140-year anniversary graphic in corner.

Established in 1884, Civista Bank proudly celebrates 140 years of service this year. This milestone is a celebration of the people, communities, and relationships that have shaped Civista into the trusted financial institution it is today.

"This significant anniversary not only honors our history but also celebrates our dedication to excellence, progress, and strength for future growth," noted Dennis Shaffer, Civista Bank President and Chief Executive Officer. "Reflecting on this journey, we're motivated by the teamwork, loyalty, and community support that has been pivotal to our achievements. We look forward to our next chapter, embracing new challenges and staying true to the principles that have been the cornerstone of Civista for over a century.”

Timeline of Innovation & Growth

Civista Bank has demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability, navigating through some of the most challenging periods in the nation's financial history. From the economic struggles of the Great Depression to the uncertainties of the Great Recession, Civista has stood as a beacon of stability for its community.

The bank's enduring presence through these defining moments—be it the banking reforms of the 1930s or the financial upheavals of the early 21st century—speaks volumes about its commitment to disciplined financial practices and its dedication to customer care. Civista's ability to adapt and thrive, not just survive, during these times of national financial struggle underscores its principles of integrity, community engagement, and excellence in banking.

A History of Civista:

1884 - Civista's Founding:

A board of directors was established on February 23, 1884. On March 24, 1884, Citizens National Bank opened its doors in Sandusky, OH, with only four employees working from a rented store front in the Sloan Hotel building until a permanent location on West Market Street was ready.

1899 – A New Chapter

The bank changed its charter to a State operated bank, Citizens Bank. Deposits reached $1 million.

1924 – Celebrating the First 40 Years

The bank moves to a new location in The Feick Building on East Market Street, Sandusky.

1960 – Beginning to Grow

The opening of the first bank branch office on West Perkins Avenue, Sandusky signaled the start of geographical and service expansion, bringing Civista closer to its community. 

1965 - Civista Began Using Drive-Thru Banking

1966 - Technological Advancement

The formation of a Data Processing Center showcased Civista's early commitment to leveraging technology for improved banking services.

1976 & 1982 - Further Expansion and Innovation

The building of a second office on East Perkins, Sandusky, and the introduction of the first local ATM illustrated Civista's continuous growth and innovation.

1984- 1986 - New Headquarters Constructed

As part of its 100th anniversary, the bank announced a new $2 million headquarters to be built at its current location, 100 East Water Street, Sandusky, OH 44870.

1987 – Evolving with Progress

Transitioning to a Bank Holding Company allowed Civista to broaden its horizon through mergers and acquisitions, beginning a new chapter of strategic growth.

1990's - 2000's - Strengthening the Network:

These decades saw a series of acquisitions demonstrating the bank's expanding footprint and service diversification:

  • 1990 – The Castalia Banking Company – Castalia, Ohio
  • 1997 – EST National Bank offices – Berlin Heights and Sandusky, Ohio
  • 1998 – Farmers State Bank – New Washington, Ohio
  • 1999 – Premier Bank office – Huron, Ohio
  • 2000 – Citizens Bank opened a loan office in Port Clinton, Ohio.
  • 2002 – The Citizens National Bank of Norwalk – Norwalk, Ohio. This added three offices and trust services to the bank, giving birth to today’s Civista Wealth Management division of the bank.
  • 2003 – Construction began on the Howard Drive Operations Center.
  • 2004 – FNB Financial Corporation - The National Bank of Shelby – Shelby, Ohio.
    This expansion enabled the bank to further extend its services to the communities in Richland and Crawford County, Ohio.
  • 2007 – Futura Banc Corp - Champaign National Bank – Urbana, Ohio. This added nine offices predominately in Central Ohio, and one in Akron.

2011 – Introduction of Mobile Banking

2015 – Rebranding for the Future

The year marked a new era for the bank with a strategic rebrand from the long-standing name Citizens Bank to Civista Bank, recognizing the prevalence of 316 banks in the United States bearing Citizens in their title.

Civista, is a blend of "civic," denoting community, and "vista," signifying view, thereby encapsulating the bank's dedication to community service and customer-centric focus. This rebranding not only pays homage to its heritage as Citizens Bank but also signals a commitment to future growth and innovation.

2015 - 2022 - A New Decade of Growth

Recent acquisitions have not only extended Civista Bank’s reach, but have enriched its product and service offerings, including diversifying its revenue stream into business leasing with the purchase of Vision Financial Group in late 2022.

  • 2015 - The Citizens National Bank of Southwest Ohio. This expanded the bank’s presence into the Dayton market.
  • 2018 - United Community Bancorp - United Community Bank of Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Expanding the footprint across state lines into Indiana.
  • 2022 - Opening of the Gahanna office – Serving the growing Columbus. Ohio community
  • 2022 - Comunibanc Corp - The Henry County Bank – Napoleon, Ohio. Extending Civista’s presence in Northwest Ohio with seven additional offices
  • 2022 - Vision Financial Group, Inc. – Civista Leasing & Finance

This anniversary is not just a celebration of our past but a reaffirmation of our promise to continue adapting, innovating, and serving with the same dedication that has defined us for over a century. Civista's enduring legacy, built on the foundation of trust, excellence, and deep community ties, positions us for a future where we remain your trusted partner in every financial endeavor. Together, we look forward to forging new paths, embracing challenges, and achieving new milestones, always with our community at the heart of everything we do.

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