About Us: History
In 1983, the West Point area’s economy suffered from the agricultural problems caused by low grain and livestock prices, high interest rates, and ever-increasing operating costs. Bankers were concerned about loan quality, and some lost track of the importance of the needs of customers. Local auto dealers Steve and Hugh Paus sensed an opportunity to build upon the community’s pride and West Point’s strong underlying economy.
By 1985, the pair had assembled a group of local investors, received a national banking charter, hired a staff led by Steve Bell, President, and Kevin Larson, Vice President, and created CharterWest National Bank. Since its inception, our growth has been fueled by a strong commitment to the customer. A positive attitude in lending, competitive pricing of products, and continuity in management have resulted in CharterWest becoming a leader in the area’s banking community.
Initially, acquisition opportunities provided growth, both inside West Point and in the surrounding area. In 1991, the deposits of Equitable Federal Savings & Loan were purchased, which allowed the bank to fund further loan growth. Equitable’s former building became CharterWest’s new motor bank. Total assets approached $40 million.
In 1999, the group purchased the First National Bank of Walthill, later merged into CharterWest. Our first out-of-town venture brought the banks’ assets to $80 million. The bank in Walthill gave management the opportunity to learn to grow into other communities, especially the small towns like our home town. We learned to handle multiple locations, while continuing to be driven by our original vision of a customer-oriented bank, responsive to the needs of its community. Mic Daehnke and his staff have been a great addition to our team.
We opened a third location in May of 2000 – CharterWest National Bank of Pender. Pender’s strong economy, coupled with the need for additional banking competition, made the community an excellent prospect for our growth. A county seat town with a significant manufacturing base and its own hospital and medical clinic, Pender presented the kind of opportunity that attracts our bank. We’re proud of the job that Derwin Roberts and his team have done in Pender. Currently, we approach $30 million in deposits and loans, showing that CharterWest is serving a real need in the community.
Recognizing the power of community banking, CharterWest sought another opportunity. By 2003, we were looking for a market that would provide growth potential, small-town values, and still be close to our home. Elkhorn, a fast-growing Omaha suburb, offered that combination. While still a small town, the potential growth of the metropolitan area was a strong attraction. In 2004, we built a new facility on Maple Street at Indian Creek, and asked our president, Steve Bell, to move to Elkhorn to manage our new branch. In a very short time, Elkhorn has become our second-largest location, and offers excellent growth opportunity into the future.
Our bank celebrated a major milestone in 2004, crossing $100 million in total assets. In less than twenty years, we have grown from a dream into a major financial institution. A persistent focus on the needs of our customers, continuity of management, and a positive attitude continues to drive our growth. However, no matter how much we grow, we recognize that our heritage is that of a community bank, driven to meet the needs of the customers in the towns we serve.
CharterWest purchased the Nebraska operations of Major Mortgage,
growing both our physical presence in the state and the breadth of
our product offerings. Led by long-time manager Gary Walters,
CharterWest Mortgage Centers offer the broadest array of residential
mortgages available in their markets. Our offices in LaVista,
Columbus, Grand Island, Hastings, and Lexington offer long-term
fixed-rate products from the secondary market, supplemented by the
flexibility of a community bank. Our people lead the state in NIFA
and USDA Rural Development mortgage production, an essential element
in assisting first-time buyers and rural customers qualifying for
2005, we opened a new Mortgage and Loan Center in Kearney.
Recognizing a community with exceptional growth potential, we asked
Russ Smith to manage our new office. We are excited about the
possibilities in Kearney, and look forward to great things there.
2007, we purchased First Independent Residential Mortgage,
expanding our Omaha base of mortgage centers.
assets over $170 million, CharterWest continues to grow in total
size and in geographic service area.
A bank big enough to satisfy the needs of virtually all
customers, we are still small enough to know them personally.
Customer satisfaction drives this organization.