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Brief History of the Hershey State Bank UPDATED 5/31/13
Chartered on March 15, 1968, Hershey State Bank was the result of the businessmen of Hershey wanting to have their own full service bank. Hershey had not had a bank since the late 1920’s when regulators closed both the First National Bank and the Lincoln County Bank. In the 1930’s a credit cooperative had been established to furnish checking accounts and to make change.
An effort to charter a new bank in 1966 by officers of the McDonald State Bank, Attorney Charles Baskins and John Deere dealer Bill Callihan had been denied by the Department of Banking. In the fall of 1967, business woman Dora Reineke contacted McDonald Bank officer E. Dean Niedan asking him to spearhead another try at getting a bank charter. She owned the old Bank of Lincoln County building and would take stock in the new bank in exchange for the building. She further felt that the community would support the need for a bank to the point of buying stock in the venture. An organizational meeting was held and it was decided to name the bank, The Hershey State Bank with the beginning directors to be E. Dean Niedan, his father Henry K. Niedan, businessmen Ted Young and Virgil Jorgenson and farmers Lloyd Johnson and Eugene Huebner.
Several carloads of Hershey residents made the trip to Lincoln to testify at a charter hearing on January 25th 1968. Banking Director C. R. Haines approved the charter on February 29th, 1968 and in less than a week the community had raised the required $175,000 to capitalize the bank. There were 98 shareholders. The shareholders of the Hershey Cooperative Credit Company voted to liquidate the credit company in favor of the new bank. The first day of business was to be March 27th. It was a busy 2 weeks as local tradesmen converted the old bank building that had served as everything from a cream station to a café back into an operating bank building. Opening day found E. Dean Niedan as executive officer, his wife Jean A. Niedan as secretary, receptionist, Ruth Anderson and Norma Parker as teller bookkeepers and brother Ken Niedan opening new accounts while bank examiners passed out the liquidation checks of the credit cooperative.
By June 1st, Ken Niedan assumed duties as executive officer and was named a director. His wife Connie J. Niedan was secretary-receptionist. E. Dean Niedan and wife returned to their respective duties in North Platte. The bank experienced good growth, had become profitable and had reached over one and one half million dollars in assets by year end 1969.
Over the years the bank has been remodeled several times to include the former bar and telephone buildings nearby. It currently occupies some 7,000 square feet on Lincoln Avenue which is Hershey’s main street. There are 17 employees and the bank has grown to nearly 40 million in total assets (Now 56 million) in it’s now 40 (now 45 years)years of operation. The modern building also houses the affiliated Hershey Agency which is a full service insurance agency. Current Directors are President & CEO Ken Niedan, Vice Presidents Connie Niedan and Vern Ehlers, businessmen John Haines, Bob Maline, Owen Palm, and accountant Kim Kujath.
In April 2013 the bank expanded into the North Platte market by acquiring the former Centris Credit Union building at 301 E Philip Ave. The Branch will provide full services to the growing number of bank customers located in the North Platte area.
The bank continues to be owned by 60 community shareholders and the Ken Niedan family as an independent full service commercial bank. The officers, directors and staff look forward to serving these proud progressive Lincoln County communities for many years to come.
K. H. Niedan, President & CEO