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First State Bank and Trust Co.

About Us

Welcome to banking made local.

For more than 90 years, First State Bank & Trust Co., Inc. has partnered with Southeast Missouri residents.

First State Bank & Trust Co., Inc. remains a locally owned financial institution, and through the commitment of its officers, directors and employees, it continues to be a strong, stable and independent community bank with local management at each location. We consider it a privilege to be located in each of the seven communities and look forward to working with our customers and our communities for years to come.

How Caruthersville came to be

On February 19, 1851, Pemiscot County was organized out of New Madrid County with Gayoso as the County Seat. In 1857, Caruthersville was laid out by G.W. Bushey and Colonel John Hardeman Walker. It was named in honor of the Honorable Sam Caruthers of Madison County, Representative in Congress, who aided in the legal establishment of Caruthersville. In 1898, with Gayoso being imperiled by the caving riverbanks, Caruthersville was elected the county seat and all records were moved there in 1899.

Our history

On March 29, 1934, in the law office of Robert L. Ward Sr., seven men met as directors representing 34 stockholders to formally organize the First State Bank of Caruthersville. The first Board of Directors included Robert L. Ward, M.R. Rowland, John L. VanAusdall, Joe Kohn, Walter Bernard, S. Crews Reynolds and Charles G. Ross.

Ward was elected President and presided over the meeting. Coming to the area when he did, he saw the area go through many progressions. He saw growth during and just after World War I, and then he saw it struggle during the depression of the late twenties. He saw businesses fail, farmers lose their land and three Caruthersville banks close their doors. He was glad to have a part in restoring financial solvency to the area by joining the movement toward a new bank in Caruthersville.

Following Ward, the next decades the bank experienced leadership from Morrison R. Rowland, John L. VanAusdall, S. Crews Reynolds and Horace Dunagan Jr.

Dunagan joined the bank in the fifties and served in various positions, then President and later Chairman of the Board. After Dunagan’s death in 1987, the Board elected Duane S. Michie as Chairman of the Board and President. Michie was serving as President of Bank of Hayti, a nearby bank owned by the same primary shareholders. Michie was a local community leader and provided leadership through the years as First State Bank of Caruthersville continued to be a strong financial leader in the community. Management maintained a mission statement of providing the best in financial services.

When was the bank name changed?

With the end of the century on the horizon, First State Bank and Trust embraced new opportunities for growth. In 1995, First State opened its first branch in Sikeston. Gordon Waller joined the management team in establishing the Sikeston branch located at 750 S. Main St.

In 2003, the second branch office was opened at 710 W. Business Highway 60, Dexter.

By mid-2004, Waller was elected President/CEO of First State Bank and Trust. Although First State was owned by a multibank holding company, management pursued the advantages of merging with the other two independent banks the holding company owned – including the Bank of Hayti located at 805 E. Washington St. The Bank of Hayti’s charter dated back to 1902.

Farmers Bank of Portageville, located at 301 E. Third St. was also merged. Farmers Bank of Portageville was chartered in 1905. All three banks had long histories in each community but were served by the same management team. After careful consideration, the consolidation began with the merger of Farmers Bank of Portageville in late 2004 and then the Bank of Hayti in 2005.

In February 2017, First State Bank & Trust Co., Inc. expanded again by acquiring Montgomery Bank’s Dexter branch.

In October 2018, First State Bank & Trust Co., Inc. expanded once again by acquiring Mississippi County Savings and Loans of Charleston, MO. 


First State Bank & Trust Co., Inc. is still owned by First State Bancorp, Inc., and of the 87 shareholders, some are the original shareholder families from incorporation. One of the largest shareholders of the holding company is the First State Bancorp Employee Stock Ownership Plan – the employees. This is a unique feature of First State Bank & Trust Co., Inc.

At the beginning of 2018, First State Bank & Trust Co., Inc. underwent a brand refresh, adding a splash of fresh colors and updating our logo for the first time since 1975.

Our new logo honors those who began and cultivated this organization. It’s paying homage to the brand they built and fine-tuned, while aligning with contemporary design standards. Our former logo played a vital role in our success, making this organization synonymous with professionalism, local advocacy and banking excellence.

Thank you to our current and new customers for supporting local organizations and helping us grow Southeast Missouri.