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New Harvard bank location opens Monday

After years of planning and months of construction, The Harvard State Bank will officially open its brand new building in Oregon next Monday, April 24.

A week-long grand opening will be held May 1-6 at the new bank on the northeast corner of Washington (Ill. 64) and Sixth Streets.

The community is invited to stop by to see the new bank building and the staff.

The celebration, with daily giveaways, will be capped off with a cook-out prepared by the Ogle County Pork Producers on Saturday, May 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Someone will leave with a new grill on Saturday. 

The Harvard State Bank’s commitment to Oregon and the surrounding area began in 2009 when it purchased the Rock River Bank at the corner of Washington and Fourth (Ill. 2) Streets.

“Expanding our footprint to the Oregon community was a great decision for our bank,” said Phillip Lehmann, CEO and president of the bank.

Bank directors soon realized the bank was rich in history, as well as dedication to the community it had served since its founding 133 years ago.

Oregon resident and businessman Peter Hastings organized the Ogle County Bank in 1884 and served as its president after its incorporation in 1907.

At first the bank was located on Washington Street a few doors to the east until the new building was built at the corner.

According to Federal Reserve System records, it was established as national bank in 1935.

It was renamed Untied Bank of Ogle County in 1976 and became Rock River Bank in 1987.

Although the bank has been a mainstay in the heart of Oregon’s downtown, the building and location also had limitations.

For example, the bank’s drive-through has been located a block away for several years.

Bank officials started making plans in 2012 to purchase the Bemis Motor Company building at the corner of Fourth and Franklin Streets and locate a new building there.

However, a months-long delay in getting approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) prompted bank officials to abandon the project late in 2013.

Bank officials purchased the property at the corner of Washington and Sixth Streets from the Oregon Public Library District in the late fall of 2015.

The library board had planned to build a new library at the site but after two failed referendums for the project, trustees instead decided to renovate their current building on Jefferson Street.

Construction on the new bank began last August.

To modernize operations and convenience for customers, the new building offers normal banking, plus a drive-up window, a large parking lot, an ATM in the drive-through, and an electric car charging station.

Bank and local government officials alike are pleased with the new facility.

“As a member of the board of directors of The Harvard State Bank, I am very proud to have been a part of this new building process and our bank’s commitment to our communities,” said Chris Mueller.

Ogle County Treasurer John Coffmann has watched the building project with interest.

“Looking out from the court house and watching the new bank building progress has been exciting – and the added benefit to the community will be good for all,” he said.

Oregon Mayor Ken Williams agreed.

“It has been a pleasure working with the Lehmanns from Harvard and the local Oregon staff to make this move possible,” he said. 

The full-service bank offers traditional banking products as well as makes local decisions for mortgage and commercial loans.

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