The History of First National Bank of Huntsville – 1890-2015
On January 14, 1890, Gibbs National Bank, now First National Bank of Huntsville (FNBH), opened its doors for business on the downtown square in Huntsville, Texas. Prior to 1890, the Gibbs Family provided banking services to the citizens of Huntsville through the family mercantile business that was opened in 1841. Located on the corner of what is known today as Eleventh Street and Sam Houston Avenue, customers rode their horses on streets made of dirt and tied them on posts outside of the mercantile doors. The Gibbs family soon realized the need many had to secure their valuables and the family allowed customers to safely stash their items in the family vault.
General Sam Houston traded regularly in the Gibbs store and thought so highly of Thomas Gibbs that he named him as an executor of his will. By 1890, the Gibbs family acquired a national bank charter and the Gibbs National Bank opened directly next door to the mercantile store. In 1923, the bank changed its name to First National bank of Huntsville, and the name remains unchanged to this day.
However, the bank has evolved and grown exponentially since the early days. Today, First National Bank of Huntsville is still located on Eleventh Street but now in a six-story building that was built in 1977. Prior to that, the bank was in its second home, also on Eleventh Street, now the home of the Huntsville Police Department. FNBH was proud to have the first underground drive thru system and also introduced Huntsville to the first Automated Teller Machine (ATM) in 1981. Another milestone for FNBH was opening the Convenience Center, which was the first branch banking facility in Texas. FNBH opened the Motor Park location in 1986, which serves commercial customers with large deposits. In 1987, the bank launched a golf tournament: the Annual Lu Ellen Gibbs Invitational benefitting the Sam Houston State Golf Program. The tournament continues to this day and is known as The First National Bank of Huntsville Masters Challenge with proceeds benefitting the Lu Ellen Gibbs Golf Endowment at SHSU.
In 1990, First National Bank of Huntsville turned 100. In 1997, the bank expanded its service outside of Walker County again with the acquisition of Crockett State Bank. The banks’ name was changed to Crockett Bank, a division of First National Bank of Huntsville. By the year 2000, FNBH was in its 110th year of service and had surpassed $200 million in assets.
By 2008, First National Bank of Huntsville reached over $300 million in assets. The growth in assets was accompanied by branch expansion. The West branch was relocated to better serve customers on the west side of Huntsville. In 2004, the bank purchased The National Bank of Madisonville, which now operates as The Bank of Madisonville, a division of First National Bank of Huntsville. In 2008, the bank founded Robertson County Bank in Franklin, which also operates as a division. In 2011, FNBH opened a Loan Production Office in Bryan/College Station. In the spring of 2014, the LPO became a branch known as Brazos County Bank, a division of First National Bank of Huntsville.
First National Bank of Huntsville hit a major milestone in 2015; we are 125 years strong! We look forward with great anticipation for what the next 125 years will bring. We are so very proud to be a part of Huntsville’s rich history and are equally proud to be Huntsville’s only locally owned community bank.