Our History

The Cecilian Bank's rich history is proof of our reliability, dedication and trustworthiness. Our loyalty to our customers and community has elevated The Cecilian Bank from one small building in Cecilian, Kentucky, to where we stand today as one of the most respected financial institutions in the region.

Due to economic progress and growth in the small community known as Cecilian, Kentucky, the need for a community bank also grew. The first meeting to organize The Cecilian Bank was held on February 18, 1903, in the office of Dr. C.Z. Aud. Officers and directors were elected about a week later and a building site was chosen for the new bank. The first location of The Cecilian Bank was raised on Methodist Street and doors were opened for business on May 23, 1903.

Mr. Allen Arment was elected as the first bank President and Mr. I.H. Mossbarger the first Chairman of the Board. Capital was set at $15,000 and by the end of that year, the officers reported earnings of $859.35, from which they established a surplus fund of $750 with the remainder dedicated to undivided profits.

Within a couple of years, bank growth dictated the purchase of the bank’s first adding machine for $250; it also saw the first salary payment since the bank’s opening with the first paycheck going to Mr. J.C. Cardwell, a cashier.

The Cecilian Bank continued to flourish and prosper over the next two decades and it became evident of the bank’s successful-looking future. By 1928, a memorandum was approved by the Board of Directors, which read: “We, the Directors of The Cecilian Bank of Cecilia, Kentucky, after careful consideration, herein advise and recommend that there be erected in Cecilia, Kentucky, a new and more modern building for housing the said institution. We feel that we are indebted to our good patronage to the extent that we should give them the best possible protection from burglary and robbery and herein recommend that a modern burglary proof vault be constructed.”

Just two months following the crash of the New York Stock Exchange, a new building for The Cecilian Bank was completed. According to members of the building committee, John B. Marriott, H.S. Garner and Earl Templeman, the cost of the finished structure was $17,201.85.

During the early 1930’s – the time of The Great Depression – many banks were forced to close their doors and were unable to reopen. Because The Cecilian Bank ran securely and safely, it was able to keep its doors open during those tumultuous years.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, the Elizabethtown and Paducah Railroad brought prosperity to the town which had changed its name to Cecilia. The bank also kept pace with economic growth. In 1957, an addition was made to the building which included the first drive-thru window in Hardin County.

In 1951, Mr. Earl Templeman became President of the bank and held that position until June 30, 1989, when he became Chairman of the Board. During his tenure, The Cecilian Bank distinguished itself as a financial institution conservative in nature while being progressive at the same time. Mr. Templeman served as Chairman of the Board until his death on January 2, 1991. Following Mr. Templeman’s death, Mr. Paul M. Lewis, who joined the Board of Directors in 1961, became Chairman of the Board of The Cecilian Bank.

In 1974, the bank’s steady growth required the directors to make plans to expand the already crowded facilities at Cecilia. A two-story addition was constructed and later on a third addition was completed. In 1976, the bank was asked to branch into the community of Rineyville and this banking center became the second of 19 separate banking centers. The Hillcrest Banking Center opened September 15, 1977; the Oaklawn Banking Center on November 28, 1988; the Sonora Banking Center opened November 14, 1994; the Vine Grove Banking Center on January 2, 2001; the Leitchfield Banking Center on June 18, 2002; the Radcliff Loan Production Office February 13, 2007; and Prospect Pointe Banking Center on July 1, 2007.

As growth continued, the Radcliff Loan Production Office relocated and became a full-service banking center on May 13, 2008. The Hillcrest Banking Center was relocated into a state-of-the-art facility on November 2, 2009. This facility houses the famous Armored Car, the bank’s Courier Support Center and The Cecilian Bank Academy – a highly advanced meeting facility. On June 14, 2010, The Cecilian Bank expanded its footprint in Grayson County with the addition of the Leitchfield Downtown Banking Center. At the same time, the bank entered its third county, Breckinridge, by adding the eleventh banking center in Hardinsburg.

January 1, 2011, brought about some exciting transitions for The Cecilian Bank regarding leadership roles. Mr. Paul Lewis retired from his position as Chairman of the Board of Directors, a position he held for 20 years. He will continue, however, to serve as Chairman of First Cecilian Bancorp, Inc. and as a Director of the bank. Mr. Terrell Lewis, who joined The Cecilian Bank as an employee in 1948 and became a member of the Board of Directors in 1997, retired as a Board Member but was honored with Director Emeritus status so that the bank may still benefit from his perspective as being affiliated with The Cecilian Bank for more than 60 years.

January 1, 2011, also saw a change in the Chairman of the Board and President’s roles of The Cecilian Bank. Mr. Bob Owsley, who has been an employee of the bank since 1958, a Director of the bank since 1970, Chief Executive Office from 1989 to 1997, and President of the bank since 1989, was promoted to Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. J. Gregory Pawley, who became the Chief Financial Officer of the bank in 1997, and then Chief Executive Officer in 2005, is now President and CEO. Mr. Pawley was also appointed to serve as a member of the Board of Directors.

With Mr. Pawley, two additional members were appointed to the Board of Directors in January 2011, Mr. Donald B. Wise and Mr. William G. Groves. Mr. Wise has been an employee of the bank since 1997, and Senior Executive Officer since 2005. Mr. Groves was an employee of The Cecilian Bank since 1997 serving as Executive Vice President and Senior Lender before retiring at the end of 2014. Mr. Groves retired from the Board of Directors in 2017.

During the summer of 2011, The Cecilian Bank ventured into its fourth county, Meade County. In September, the bank opened its doors to a temporary location in Brandenburg. After several months of looking for a permanent facility, the bank was fortunate to find a prime location along By-Pass Road entering Brandenburg from the east side. In November 2013, an elegant banking center was opened to serve the residents of Meade County.

The Cecilian Bank acquired Leitchfield Deposit Bank and Farmers Bank on May 23, 2016, in turn adding two new banking centers: Southgate Mall in Leitchfield and Irvington.

The Cecilian Bank expanded its footprint in Hardin County with The Historic Downtown Elizabethtown Banking Center opened its doors as a full-service banking center on November 18, 2019. The building, purchased in April 2013, continues to serve as The Cecilian Bank’s Customer Support Center.

On January 18, 2020, The Cecilian Bank acquired Citizens Bank and extended its geographical reach to three new counties and added three new banking centers: Hartford in Ohio County, Munfordville in Hart County and Hiseville in Barren County.

One constant that has been a staple of the history of The Cecilian Bank – and this shall not change – is that the institution continues to be locally owned, operated and under the same name since its inception more than a century ago.

The growth of The Cecilian Bank can be attributed to two factors: First, it is the extraordinary service provided by both the Directors as well as the bank’s employees in the daily operation. Second, growth has come because of the patronage of our valued customers and friends such as yourself. This loyalty has elevated The Cecilian Bank from one small building in Cecilia to where we stand today. After almost 120 years of service, we remain … The Cecilian Bank … of which we are very proud.

Thanks to each and every one of you.

Bob Owsley's Signature

B.G. Owsley,
Chairman of the Board of Directors