The Farmers and Merchants Bank of Eatonton was granted its banking charter on October 26, 1922 with capital of $25,000. The first Board of Directors meeting was held on November 14, 1922 with the following directors present: J. N. Hawkins, Eugene Benton, G. B. Callaway, W. A. Andrews, H. B. Kelly, H. H. Howard and L. O. Benton. Mr. L. O. Benton was elected Chairman of the Board and President of the bank.
The Board approved the purchase of the building located at the intersection of Madison Avenue and Marion Street known as the old Bank of Eatonton. The purchase price was $6,250. Banking hours were from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The first loan committee was established to approve all loans over $50 and a majority of the Board of Directors had to approve all loans over $500.
Times have changed! In 1962, a new modern brick bank was built just across the street with a drive up window and one of the first ATM machines in the state. In 1992, after tearing down the entire bank except the entrance on W. Marion Street, a huge 20,000 square-foot, three-story structure was built with four drive through lanes, 15 teller stations and a beautifully decorated lobby with traditional furnishings. We have 53 full-time employees and three part-time employees. Due to increased growth and customer demand in the Lake Oconee area, our branch located at Harmony Crossing on Lake Oconee was opened in March 2005.
Farmers & Merchants Bank is an independent community bank dedicated to providing high quality products and services without compromising the personal touch that hometown folks are accustomed to receiving. Farmers & Merchants Bank continues as the oldest and largest financial institution in Putnam County.
The Farmers and Merchants Bank is privileged to offer a variety of financial services and products to the people of Putnam County and the surrounding counties, the bank’s primary territory. It is our objective to provide the services and products that are most needed and will benefit the individuals and the businesses we serve at a price which is competitive in the area marketplace, while generating a rate of return to the bank’s stockholders which is adequate to justify their continued confidence and on-going investment. Our bank, as much as any other business in this community, is responsible for the financial well-being of our people. For these people and the local economy in general to prosper, we, the employees of our bank, must perform our jobs very well.