History

The Bank

West Plains Bank—founded as Commercial State Bank—opened its doors in Ainsworth on October 1, 1913. After a national bank charter was granted on November 1, 1927, the bank changed its name to the Commercial National Bank of Ainsworth.

The local bank weathered the financial storms of the 20′s, the depression of the 30′s, the hectic periods of both World Wars, and the tough agricultural climate of the    80′s. And through it all, the doors never closed.

With business booming in the 40s, expansion was inevitable to make room for growth. The Skinner Hardware building was purchased in 1949, and the bank expanded again in 1978 into an adjacent building previously owned by the Kansas-Nebraska Natural Gas Company.

In the early 1990′s, the bank underwent a major remodel and addition that included the former Hen House building. Remodeling allowed space for new drive-thru and walk-up facilities on the north side of the bank. In 1993, Commercial National Bank added a new location with the purchase of First National Bank of Springview.

In December 2010, Commercial National Bank transitioned to a state-chartered bank in an effort to maximize resources and create a stronger local presence. During that process the bank changed its name to West Plains Bank.

Leadership

1913 – Members of the inaugural Board of Directors included G.H. Thorley, President; D.H. Troxel, Vice President; Walter H. Williams, Cashier; J.E. Enders; and Charles S. Pettit.

1913–1941 – As the bank’s first President, G.H. Thorley laid the foundation for future success and grew the bank’s customer base during some of the nation’s most stressful economic times.

1941–1954 – After his father’s passing, Harry G. Thorley succeeded G.H. Thorley as President of the bank. During these years the bank saw an influx of prosperity and its first expansion.

1954–1961 – Roger S. Thorley was the bank’s successor in the wake of his father’s death. During this time Roger worked to solidify the bank as a financial cornerstone of the Ainsworth community.

1961–1962 – Ted E. Ritter was appointed bank President to fill the vacancy left by Roger Thorley’s death.

July 1962 – S. Dean Evans Sr. purchased the majority of the stock in the bank, and Dale Sorensen moved to Ainsworth from the Gering National Bank to assume the position of President.

August 1967 – S. Dean Evans Sr. sold his interest in The Commercial National Bank to the Commercial Investment Company.

July 1974 – Glenn Forgey, Lyle Forgey, Elbert Mundhenke, Fred W. Rose, Sidney Salzman, and Roger L. Weiss purchased the remaining market shares from the other stockholders in the Commercial Investment Company.

July 1975 – Roger L. Weiss began to serve as the President of the bank.

December 1977 – Dale Sorensen retired as the bank’s Chairman of the Board.

April 1982 – Elbert Mundhenke, Fred W. Rose, and Sidney Salzman sold their stock in the Commercial Investment Company—which left Glenn Forgey, Lyle Forgey, and Roger L. Weiss as the remaining shareholders.

December 1987 – Glenn and Lyle Forgey purchased Roger Weiss’s stock in the Commercial Investment Company. Glenn Forgey passed away in October of 1993, and his son, Lyle Forgey, continued the family interest in the bank.

March 1997 – Roger Weiss retired from Commercial National Bank, and John Halbersleben was promoted to the position of bank President.

January 2013 – John Halbersleben retired from West Plains Bank and his position as Chairman of the Board.  Michael D. Kreycik was promoted to the position of President and Board Chairman.

Members of our current Board of Directors include Lyle Forgey, Robert Miles, John Halbersleben, Michael D. Kreycik, Douglas L. Weiss and James F. Arens. The current stockholders of the Commercial Investment Company are the Glenn Forgey Revocable Trust and Lyle Forgey.

The late Harold Theis served with the current board of directors from 1991 until 2010.

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