At the turn of the twentieth century when coal mining flourished in Saline County, IL, John Davenport and H. E. Willis of Harrisburg joined brothers S.C. and P.H. Galeener of Eldorado to form a financial institution behind the façade of a small storefront at 1340 Locust Street in downtown Eldorado. On July 14, 1906, the First State Bank received a charter, making it the First State Bank in the township of Eldorado and, ultimately, the oldest State Bank in Saline County.
Immediately thereafter, the founders of the newly created bank purchased a parcel of land, including a small wooden building, on the "five-way" corner of Fourth and Locust Streets in Eldorado. First State Bank has occupied the sturdy, two-story brick building built there for over 100 years, qualifying it as one of the oldest buildings in Eldorado and the second oldest business in town. This main facility has sustained a few cosmetic changes, including removing a horse trough from the outside of the bank's entrance to make room for progress (paving the streets in 1910), and, more recently, remodeling for additional executive office space and work areas.
- On Jan. 2, 1982, the bank obtained authorization to open a branch in Equality, IL. This was the first branch application approved by the State of Illinois.
- A convenient highway facility was opened on April 24, 1985, at the corner of Routes 45 and 142 in Eldorado, IL. Services include commercial, agricultural and consumer lending, along with the Bank's full array of deposit products. The facility includes a state of the art ATM and two-way teller video screens.
- Capital First Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the bank, was established in 1986 as a full-service residential mortgage lender later focusing its attention to farm mortgage lending.
- American Farm Mortgage Company of Louisville, KY, was purchased in 1990, and became a wholly owned subsidiary of the bank.
- On Dec. 31, 2004 Capital First Corporation and American Farm Mortgage Company merged. American Farm Mortgage & Financial Services, the surviving entity, now services over $225 million in agricultural real estate loans.
- The bank's presence in Evansville, IN, began in December 2005 with the establishment of the North Park Branch at 1010 West Buena Vista Road.
- The bank then established a second branch in Indiana with the opening of the Cross Pointe Branch on April 10, 2008 at 7325 East Virginia Street.
- First State Bank of Eldorado began operating as Legence Bank on August 1, 2008. Kevin Beckemeyer, president of First State Bank and then Legence Bank, said the move was made to accommodate future growth outside Southern Illinois, to end customer confusion with similarly named banks, and to build a strong, unique brand.
- Two more Southern Illinois locations opened on Mar. 21, 2011, when Legence Bank reached a long-time business goal with the addition of a branch in Harrisburg, the county seat of Saline County. The Harrisburg Branch is located at 502 North Commercial Street and the Galatia Branch is located at 100 East Main Street.
- Legence Bank then acquired and opened two additional Southern Illinois locations on February 25, 2013. The new Shawneetown branch is located at 301 North Lincoln Boulevard W in Shawneetown, Illinois. The new Vienna branch is located at 301 Vine Street in Vienna, Illinois.
- Legence Bank was pleased to open a new Corporate Office on September 15, 2014, located at the corner of US Highway 45 and Illinois Route 142 in Eldorado IL. Executive offices, Human Resources, Audit and Compliance, Loan and Deposit Operations, Marketing, and the eBranch are all housed in the new Corporate Office. Office spaces for our subsidiary, American Farm Mortgage & Financial Services, are also held in the Corporate Office.
- Legence Bank signed an agreement, on February 22, 2017, to purchase eight southern Illinois bank branches from Marion, IL based MidCountry Bank. We acquired the following branches, located in Benton, Carbondale, Johnston City, Marion – The Hill, Marion - Boulevard, Metropolis, Mounds, and Mt. Vernon on August 18th, 2017, for a total of 15 branches.
The Bank's board, management and staff are excited about the future and our strong growth prospects. With over a century of history and a legacy of caring, personal service, Legence Bank is forging ahead into the future, continuing its strategic goal of providing the communities it serves with a premier financial institution and state of the art technology and conveniences, while remaining independently owned and committed to our most valuable asset: our CUSTOMERS!