The year was 1934. The Great Depression had shuttered the previously established financial institutions in Carter County 3 years earlier.  This didn’t stop the vision of eight civic-minded businessmen and their aspirations to once again have a bank in Elizabethton.  Under the leadership of Dr. E.L. Caudill Sr. and Attorney Raymond C. Campbell, the founders raised the necessary capital mandated by the State Banking Commission to receive a charter.

November 5th, 1934, Citizens Bank opened its doors in the former First National Bank building at 601 E. Elk Ave. in downtown Elizabethton.  The original Board of Directors consisted of Dr. E.L. Caudill as president and Chairman of the Board along with the directors, Attorney Raymond C. Campbell, James B. Deal, D.L. Maugans, Allen F. Taylor, Judge Ben Allen, Joe E. Godsey and R.C. Turrentine.  Turrentine was also responsible for the day to day operations and management of the branch alongside his three associates, Ann Felty, B.R. Cantrell and Chris Ritts. 

Over the next three decades, Citizens Bank continued to grow and prosper under the leadership of Dr. Caudill, Turrentine and Campbell.  Their decisions on bank operations and practices were based on the founding principles: (1) assurance of safety to depositors (2) a high standard of service to customers and (3) a genuine desire to serve the community. Their dedication to Carter County and Elizabethton were instrumental in the economic growth of the area.

In 1956 Campbell and Caudill decided to bring on Joe LaPorte Jr., as a loan officer.  Joe grew up in the local community of Stoney Creek. After earning his B.S. in Accounting in 1950, he went to work for the FDIC as a bank examiner, then to Fountain City Bank located near Knoxville to sharpen his skills as a banker.  LaPorte brought new vision and energy to the bank as well as the area.  His love for his home community and incredible work ethic made it apparent he would be the next leader of Citizens Bank.

Joe LaPorte took the reins in 1962 and started a period of growth and expansion.  First by building a new main office on the site where the present-day Citizens Bank corporate office is located.  Then he led the expansion of offices throughout the county.  As the bank grew along with Carter County, others took notice.  In 1973 Tennessee Valley Bancorp purchased Citizens Bank’s assets under the premise that having greater financial resources would be beneficial to the communities and customers located in the smaller bank’s footprint. The conglomerate maintained the Citizens Bank brand and the local leadership with Joe at the helm.  However, the management directives from Nashville didn’t always align with the principles that had brought such success to Citizens Bank over the previous four decades.

In the early 1980’s LaPorte set into motion a valiant strategy that would reshape the future of Citizens Bank. The first phase was the establishment of a family owned and operated company, Citco Community Bancshares Inc., the holding company that continues to own Citizens Bank today. From there, Joe made the tactical play to reacquire full control of Citizens Bank and successfully returned the company he loved to a local, community centered, financial institution.

Joe’s dedication to the community and his family garnered him the name “Papa Joe”.  That same enthusiasm fostered a reputation of great leadership and innovation that propelled Citizens Bank to become nationally recognized for its extraordinary performance.  

After Graduating from the University of Tennessee Joe LaPorte III joined the bank in 1979.  He excelled at learning the inner workings of banking and displayed the same resolve for Citizens Bank and the community that Papa Joe had fashioned.  In 1985, at the age of 29, Joe III stepped into his father’s shoes and became the fifth president poised to continue the success synonymous with the LaPorte name.  He did just that. Joe successfully led the Bank though multiple advancements and acquisitions that expanded Citizens Bank throughout all the Tri-Cities and into Knoxville, established Citizens Investment Services Inc. (a brokerage subsidiary affiliated with Raymond James Financial Advisors), and assembled a leadership team that remained focused on the core values on which the foundation of the organization was built.

Today Joe LaPorte III still leads Citizens Bank as the Chairman of the Board and CEO. In a recent opportunity to discuss the anniversary with Mr. LaPorte and the current bank president, Larry Estepp, Joe was asked about his 40-year career with Citizens Bank and the 85 years of service to our community.  “When I started banking it was the business of taking care of people and we have worked diligently to keep the bank focused on people.” He discussed how times have changed and the effects of technology in our industry.  “Everything moves at a faster pace now; We want to keep up with today’s needs but at the same time ensure the focus stays on the business of taking care of people. We want to be different; we want to keep it personal.”Mr. Estepp’s thoughts centered on the same concept.  “Citizens Bank has been involved in helping people’s dreams come true.” Either of these gentlemen can tell story after story of the impact Citizens Bank has made in our community. One such story was from a local family in Elizabethton whose father came to town in the 40’s to look at an opportunity to purchase a business.  As he was leaving town the bank president asked why he was leaving and if he didn’t have the money to make the purchase?  When the gentleman said no, the banker loaned him the money and the business is still thriving and serving our communities.  “Citizens Bank has a history of supporting the communities that we serve.  It may be monetary, being an advocate or lending a helping hand.  This is what makes community banks so valuable to our region” says Larry Estepp.

The future for Citizens Bank is bright.  Both LaPorte and Estepp speak highly of the strength of the management team and knowledgeable staff.  The 3 founding principles have steered the organization into a sound financial institution that is poised for the future.  Estepp added “We will continue to seek opportunities for growth by expanding our geographical boundaries, provide innovative products and services like our SBA lending program, and deliver new technologies to our customers for improved service and convenience." 

Citizens Bank truly is a LOCAL financial organization dedicated to their customers, their employees and the communities they serve. For more information about Citizens Bank visit citizensbank24.com or stop by one of their convenient locations and meet a member of the friendly staff.

 
 
 

    CITIZENS BANK TIMELINE

1934 (November 5)

Citizens Bank opened in the midst of the Great Depression with $75,000 in capital in the former First National Bank building at 601 Elk Avenue in downtown Elizabethton.

Original founders included: Dr. E.L. Caudill Sr. (president), Raymond C. Campbell, R.C. Turrentine, James D. Deal, Joe E. Godsey, Dwight L. Maugans, Allen F. Taylor and Judge Ben Allen.

1945

Citizens Bank’s Main office moved to 6060 Elk Avenue in Elizabethton.

1945

Dr. E. L. Caudill Sr. was elevated to chairman of the board: R.C. Turrentine became the second president of Citizens Bank.

1946 (November 12)

The first “drive up bank” was introduced by the Exchange National Bank of Chicago.

1950

Diners Club introduced the first universal credit card.

1953

Raymond C. Campbell became the third president of the Citizens Bank following the death of R.C. Turrentine in August 1953.

1956 (October 1)

Joe LaPorte Jr. joined Citizens Bank as a lending officer.

1962

Joe LaPorte Jr. became the fourth president of Citizens Bank, Raymond C. Campbell remained vice-chairman of the board and Dr. E.L. Caudill Sr. was still chairman of the board.

1963

Citizens Bank opened their first Drive-Thru Banking lanes/windows.

1966 (March 10)

Citizens Bank opened the new Elizabethton office at 300 Broad Street, which became the bank’s headquarters.

1969

The first ATM was unveiled in the United States (Chemical Bank).

1970 (October 5)

Citizens Bank's third office opened in Hampton.

1973 (May 7)

Citizens Bank opened its fourth office on Bemberg Road in Elizabethton.

1973

Clinchfield Railroad Station in Kingsport listed on National Historic Register (built in 1916) - later became Citizens Bank’s downtown Kingsport office.

Citizens Bank became part of Tennessee Valley Bancorp Holding Company.

1979

Joe LaPorte III joined Citizens Bank as a loan officer after graduating from the University of Tennessee. 

1980

First electronic cash counters were introduced in Great Britain.

1980s

When was online banking first introduced? The precursor to the modern home banking services was distance banking services via phone lines.

1981

Joe LaPorte III became manager and loan officer in the new Citizens Bank Tri-County office near Johnson City, which was still within Carter County (banks were not allowed to branch outside of county lines at that time).

1982 (October)

The LaPorte family purchased Citizen Bank stock back from Tennessee Valley Bancorp for $8 million, reclaiming its independent community bank status.

1983

Citizens Bank earns designation as a Certified Small Business Administration (SBA) Lender.

1985

Joe LaPorte III named Citizens Bank’s fifth president.

1987

Joe LaPorte III named CEO in addition to existing title of President.

1988 (September 20)

Joe LaPorte Jr. passed away after serving for 32 years in various leadership capacities at Citizens Bank and civic organizations. 

1988 (December)

Citizens Bank's main office on Broad Street in Elizabethton added two floors and was completely remodeled. 

1992

Citizens Bank acquired Executive Park National Bank with two Kingsport offices.

1993

Citizens Bank expanded into Johnson City.

Citizens Bank established a Small Business Resource (SBR) subsidiary.

1994

Citizens Bank's Colonial Heights office opened in Kingsport.

1995

Citizens Bank acquired two First Union banking offices including the historic Clinchfield Railroad Station office in Kingsport and the Allendale office.

Bill Dudney named sixth president; Joe LaPorte III retained titles of Chairman and CEO.

Citizens Bank surpassed $250 Million in assets.

1996 (November 25)

Citizens Bank's new State of Franklin office opened in Johnson City

1997

Citizens Bank consolidated two previous Executive Park National Bank offices into the Preston Forest Branch in Kingsport.

1998

PayPal was introduced as the first user-friendly online money transfer service.

1999 (May 24)

Citizens Bank Investment Services Inc. established through acquisition of independent brokerage firm affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services Inc.*

 

 

 

*SECURITIES OFFERED THROUGH RAYMOND JAMES FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. MEMBER FINRA/SIPC, AND ARE: ■ NOT DEPOSITS ■ NOT INSURED BY FDIC OR ANY OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY ■ NOT GUARANTEED BY THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTION ■ SUBJECT TO RISK, MAY LOSE VALUE ■ CITIZENS BANK AND CITIZENS INVESTMENT SERVICES ARE NOT REGISTERED BROKER/DEALERS AND ARE INDEPENDENT OF RAYMOND JAMES FINANCIAL SERVICES ■ INVESTMENT ADVISORY SERVICES OFFERED THROUGH RAYMOND JAMES FINANCIAL SERVICES ADVISORS, INC.

2000

When was online bill paying first introduced? Although the technology was available from the mid 1990s, utilization was initially slow until internet access by households increased. By 2000, adoption of electronic bill payment systems dramatically increased.

Citizens Bank surpassed $500 Million in assets.

2000 (November 20)

Citizens Bank acquired Twin City Bank in Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia with three locations including State Street, Parkway and Bonham.

2001

Citizens Bank opened the Johnson City University office.

2004

Remote deposits became legal in the United States when Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act went into effect.

2004 (February)

American Trust Bank of East Tennessee founded in Knoxville; offices in Lenoir City and Lafollette (later acquired by Citizens Bank in December 2016).

2006

Joe LaPorte, Jr. posthumously honored by the Tennessee Bankers Association as a “Leader in Banking Excellence.”

2009

Bitcoin digital currency was introduced.

 

2011

Citizens Bank Tri-Cities Foundation Ltd., invested in the University of Tennessee College of Business Administration to make sure its students stay well-connected to Wall Street.

2015

Citizens Bank surpassed $700 Million in assets.

Acclivity Financial, a subsidiary of Citizens Bank, was launched as a nationwide small business lender specializing in government guaranteed loans.

2016

Citizens Bank expanded into the Knoxville area by acquiring American Trust Bank with offices in Knoxville, Lenoir City and LaFollette.

2016 (August 2)

Citizens Bank launched Personal Banking Online Account Opening.

2016 (December)

Citizens Bank surpassed $800 Million in assets after the acquisition of American Trust Bank in Knoxville.

2018 (March)

Bill Dudney retired as President of Citizens Bank; remained on Board of Directors.

Larry Estepp promoted to become the seventh president of Citizens Bank.

2018 (December)

Larry Estepp, Citizens Bank president, received the prestigious Kingsport Chamber Lifetime Member Award for his career-long commitment to civic service and regional economic development.

2019 (November 5)

Citizens Bank celebrates 85 years of personal banking excellence to individuals, families and businesses throughout East Tennessee.

1937 (November)

McKellar Field, now known as Tri-Cities Airport, was dedicated by U.S. Sen. Kenneth McKellar.

1943-1947

Tennessee Eastman (headquarters in Kingsport) played a major role in producing explosives for the U.S. during World War II, and managed the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge which produced the world’s first atomic bomb.

1952

Robert Lee "Bobby" Dodd was a multi-sport athlete at Kingsport’s Dobyns-Bennett High School (Class of 1927). Ultimately, Dodd became one of only four individuals inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame both as a player (University of Tennessee) and head coach (Georgia Tech).  His 1952 Georgia Tech team won the National Title, which concluded a 12–0 perfect season and Sugar Bowl conquest of previously undefeated Ole Miss.  In 2009, Dodd was inducted into the Inaugural Dobyns-Bennett High School Hall of Fame.

1960

Bristol Motor Speedway was constructed.

1961 (July 30)

Bristol Motor Speedway held its first NASCAR race.

1963

East Tennessee State College achieved University status.

Steve Spurrier graduated from Science Hill high school in Johnson City and went on to win the 1966 Heisman Trophy in College football (played quarterback at the University of Florida). He became a highly successful college head coach.

1969 (December 13)

East Tennessee State University won the Grantland Rice Bowl football championship defeating Louisiana Tech 34 to 14. As a student at Louisiana Tech, Terry Bradshaw incurred his only College Bowl loss. Bradshaw later became a four-time Super Bowl Champion quarterback (Pittsburgh Steelers) and was inducted into the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

1972
Two of this region’s college men’s Cross Country teams dominated the NCAA championships.  The University of Tennessee was National Champion and East Tennessee State was runner-up.
1974

Pat Head Summitt took her first job at the University of Tennessee Knoxville as a physical education teacher and basketball coach.

1978

The new ETSU College of Medicine enrolled its first class of 24 students.

1980

The 214-mile Overmountain Victory Trail - with trailheads located in Elizabethton and Kings Mountain National Park, SC - was the first National Historic Trail established in the eastern United States.

1982 (May 1 - October 31)

The 1982 World’s Fair, also known as the Knoxville International Energy Exposition, ran for six months (May 1 – October 31) and attracted more than 11.1 million visitors.

1998

The University of Tennessee won the NCAA National Football Championship.

2000
Jason Witten graduated from Elizabethton High School, won All-SEC and Academic All-SEC honors while playing for UT. Witten was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 2003 and in 2012 won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
 
2005

LaPorte family contributed to the renovation of what is now the LaPorte Stadium (track and field) at the University of Tennessee.

2012

Pat Head Summitt, legendary University of Tennessee women’s head basketball head coach, retired with her teams having won eight NCAA National Championships…  and coached the Olympic Gold Medal winning team (1984). She is the most decorated coach in the history of U.S. collegiate women’s sports.

2013 (November)

Pat Head Summitt statue unveiled on the University of Tennessee campus to honor the NCAA women’s basketball all-time winningest coach. The LaPorte Family made a Leadership gift for the statue.

2014 (August 1)

Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, opened in Bristol, VA, to commemorate the historical significance of the Bristol Sessions (1927) that included The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest V. Stoneman and others.

2015 (September 4)

New Citizens Bank Stadium opened at Elizabethton High School.

2016 (August)

LaPorte Track opened at Elizabethton High School.

Fun Facts about East Tennessee
  • Did you know that Kenny Chesney was born in Knoxville and graduated from Gibbs High School in Knox County and later ETSU?
  • Did you know that 1961 Rebel Railroad opened on the site of what is now Dollywood which subsequently opened in 1986?
  • Did you know The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in the United States, ahead of the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone?
  • Did you know that David Crocket – the legendary Frontiersman, hunter, soldier and politician – was born in Greene County’s community of Limestone in 1786 (located between Greenville and Johnson City)?
  • Did you know that Tennessee Ernie Ford (a.k.a. Ernest Jennings Ford), a national television personality and recording artist of the 1950s-1970s, was born in Bristol, Tennessee in 1919?
  • Did you know that the soft drink Mountain Dew was developed in Knoxville in the 1940s and later bottled in Johnson City?
Fun Facts about Money
  • Did you know that during The Great Depression (1929-1939), 9,000 banks failed?
  • Did you know that the First Bank of the United States was conceived in 1790 in Philadelphia?
  • Did you know that there is more Monopoly money printed every year than actual cash?
  • Did you know that the largest denomination of U.S. currency was the $100,000 bill printed from December 1934-January 1935 and only used in transactions between Federal Reserve Banks and the U.S. Treasury?
  • Did you know that the eagle on your money has a name? Peter the Mint Eagle!
  • Did you know that U.S. paper money is not paper at all? It is 75% cotton and 25% linen.
  • Did you know that coins have ridges to protect against counterfeiting?
  • Did you know that a dollar bill only lasts 18 months before it wears out?
  • Do you know how the word “buck” came to describe money? It’s because before paper money, people traded deer and elk skins (bucks) for goods and services.
  • Did you know that until 1974, banks could (and usually would) refuse to issue a credit card to a woman unless she was married and her husband co-signed for the card?

Prizes: One (1) winner will receive one (1) $850 gift card for the grand prize. Five (5) runners up will receive one $85 gift card.     

Judging: Each comment to the post will be judged based on the number of “likes.” The comment with the highest number of “likes” will be the winner of the grand prize followed by the five runners-up. In the event of a tie a committee of Citizens Bank employees will cast the final determination.

How to Enter:

Contest begins on August 28, 2019 at 12:01 a.m. ET and ends on October 24, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. ET (the “Promotion Period”). Between August 28, 2019 and October 24, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. CT (the “Entry Period”) any participant must:

  • Comment on Citizens Bank’s original contest introduction post.
  • Entrants will comment on the post (no more than 50 words) telling us why you love East Tennessee.

           Or

  • Hand-print your name, address, city, state, zip, day and evening phone numbers, your Why I love East Tennessee message and the words "Why I love East Tennessee Contest” on a 3"x 5" card, and mail in a stamped #10 envelope, hand printed, to: "Why I love East Tennessee Contest”, P.O. Box 1900, Elizabethton, TN 37644-1900. – Citizens Bank will post the content to a comment disclosing that this is a mail-in entry. 

 

Limits: One entry per person.  All comments will be screened by Citizens Bank employees for relevant content, obscenity, abuse, profane language, etc. If a comment is found to contain one or more, the comment will be hidden and/or deleted. 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. NO ACCOUNT REQUIRED FOR ENTERING OR WINNING.

ELIGIBILITY: TO PARTICIPATE, YOU MUST BE A LEGAL U.S. RESIDENT, AT LEAST 18 YEARS OF AGE AT THE TIME OF ENTRY. The following are not eligible to win: a) officers, directors, and employees of Citizens Bank (the “Sponsor”), its affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, and any other party that is directly involved with the development or implementation of this Sweepstakes; and b) the immediate family members (spouse, parents, children, siblings, and their respective spouses) of employees and household members with whom they may reside (whether related or not).

OVERALL WINNER SELECTION DATE: On Tuesday, November 5, five (5) runners up will be announced and the one (1) grand prize winner will be announced.

PRIZES & CONDITIONS: One (1) winner will receive one (1) $850 gift card for the grand prize. Five (5) runners up will receive one $85 gift card. The winner will be selected based on the voting method described above. Winners will be required to execute and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability Release and (optional) Publicity Release within 3 days of the contest notification date. Winner releases Sponsor from any and all liability for injuries, damages or expenses sustained in connection with the giveaway or with the receipt, ownership or use of the prize. Prizes are not transferable, except at Sponsor’s sole discretion. All taxes are the winner’s responsibility. A 1099-MISC tax form will be sent to winner and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the cash equivalent amount of the prize package. 

ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning the “Why I Love East Tennessee” Contest depend upon the total number of eligible entries received as of October 24, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. and the “likes” that each comment receives.

GENERAL: Any prize claim by any entrant is subject to final verification by the Sponsor, whose decisions are final and binding in all matters relating to this promotion. All federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations apply. Sponsor is not responsible for printing, distribution, or production errors and Sponsor may rescind, cancel or revoke this contest based on any such error or any other factor outside of its reasonable control without liability at its sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to void any and all entries and/or votes of an entrant who submits more than the stated maximum limit of entries by using multiple/different Facebook accounts, e-mail addresses, identities, registrations and logins, or any other methods, or who Sponsor believes has attempted to tamper with, influence or impair the administration, security, fairness, or proper play of this Contest. Participants agree to the terms of these full Official Rules and that the prize package will be awarded upon the condition that Sponsor, its advertising/promotion agent, Facebook and/or vendors associated with this promotion shall have no liability whatsoever and shall be held harmless for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind to persons or property, including death, sustained, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, in connection with or resulting from acceptance, possession or use/misuse of any prize, or participation in this sweepstakes or participation in any sweepstakes-related activities, and further acknowledge that said parties have neither made, nor are in any manner responsible or liable for, any warranty, representation or guarantee, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, relative to any prize offered, including but not limited to its quality, mechanical condition or fitness for a particular purpose.

WINNER INFORMATION: Winner will be notified by Facebook Messenger from Citizens Bank through the messaging button located below the winning comments. The winners will be given the opportunity to sign a release form for their names to be announced on the Citizens Bank Facebook page (www.facebook.com/citizensbank24/) and website (www.citizensbank24.com). To obtain the name of the winner, available after November 10, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Citizens Bank, “I Love East Tennessee” Winner Information Request, P.O. Box 1900, Elizabethton, TN 37644-1900.

SPONSOR: Citizens Bank, P.O. Box 1900, Elizabethton, TN 37644-1900.

This contest is being administered by Citizens Bank. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

THIS PROMOTION IS VOID WHEREVER PROHIBITED BY LAW.