The depositors at Barnes Banking Co., 33 S. Main, should be the most ulcer-free Utahns around - their funds are being cared for by some of the most conservative bankers you'll find any-where.
The soundness of this bank, the oldest community bank in the state, is evident. Money Magazine has cited the bank as one of the 100 safest places to invest money in the country, and financial rating firms have given Barnes such distinctions as "five-star" and "blue ribbon bank," the 13th consecutive quarter for the blue-ribbon rating.The title of "blue ribbon bank" is especially appropriate because Barnes is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The employees often wear blue golf shirts with Barnes Banking Co. emblazoned on the front, and the bank's lobby has blue ribbons and blue and white balloons for decorations.
Founded Jan. 13, 1891, Barnes Banking Co. has survived wars, recessions and the Great Depression. Alan B. Blood, who started with the bank in 1932, served as president between 1968-1989 and still goes into the bank in an advisory capacity, said there never was a run on the bank in the 1930s.
This reputation was evident even in the early days of the bank. A Dec. 17, 1910, article in the Deseret News stated, "In the official honor list of Utah's banks, Barnes Banking Co. takes first place for no other bank has so large a surplus (retained earnings) in comparison with its capital. The capital of the company is $25,000 while its surplus and undivided profits amounts to $57,915."
Today, under the direction of Curtis H. Harris, who became president in February 1989, Barnes Bank is approaching $100 million in assets, a far cry from the $25,000 in assets the bank started with a century ago.
Barnes Bank was started by John R. Barnes who, along with several people, put in a total of $25,000 and received a charter, five years before Utah became a state. Next to serve as president were Royal C. Barnes, J.C. Gailey, Herbert J. Barnes, Blood and now Harris.
The bank originally was located on the west side of Main Street between 100 North and Center Street, adjacent to the Kaysville Cooperative Mercantile Institution, which Barnes also started with several others. Eventually both businesses became part of the Barnes Block Building at 1 N. Main, a familiar Kaysville landmark even today.
On Oct. 1, 1958, the bank moved to its present location and since then drive-in lanes and a second story have been added. Harris said.
Barnes Bank officials aren't running all over the place looking for places to open branches. "We talked about the possibility of having some branches, but the talk never got into the serious stage," said Blood, in explaining why Barnes Bank has only one outlet.
As part of the bank's 100th anniversary celebration, cake and punch are being served through February, the bank will sponsor a float in a parade, silver commemorative coins have been minted and are being sold and there is a possibility the bank will sponsor golf and softball tournaments in the summer.
Harris said there are many reasons the bank has been around for so long. He said the employees, the integrity of the people in the community and making sound banking decisions are the reasons Barnes Bank is a survivor.
"We appreciate the customers for showing their loyalty and confidence, and they are the main reason why we'll be here for another 100 years," said Harris.