Business View Magazine | August 2020

120 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE AUGUST 2020 AT A GLANCE OCONEE STATE BANK WHAT: A community bank WHERE: Headquarters in Watkinsville, Georgia WEBSITE: OCONEE State Bank I n the early 1900s, there were banks in all the small towns of Oconee County, Georgia - Bishop, Bogart, Eastville, Farmington, and Watkinsville. When the Great Depression came along in 1929, all of those banks failed and Oconee County was without a bank for the next 30 years. Farmers and small merchants had to travel to Athens for their banking needs. In 1958, a group of community leaders recognized the need for a bank in Oconee County and started the process of getting the necessary approval for a state-chartered community bank. In 1959, they announced that the FDIC had approved their application and Oconee State Bank opened its doors for business on February 1, 1960, with three employees and a small corner office on Main Street in downtown Watkinsville. Because the local people had lost money in banks that went broke, it was important for the founders to promote the bank as a “locally- owned bank” that would be owned by local citizens who purchased original shares of stock. Thus, it would be a true community bank. One of the strengths of the bank was that it knew its customers and focused on serving the community, as well as taking care of its employees and customers. Oconee State Bank’s stated vision: “To be K E E P I NG I T L OCA L