After 37 years of service, Wilbur Nelson — who owns and operates Nelson Farm Service in rural Bishop Hill — will retire from the Community State Bank Board of Directors this month.

After 37 years of service, Wilbur Nelson — who owns and operates Nelson Farm Service in rural Bishop Hill — will retire from the Community State Bank Board of Directors this month. Nelson was among the entrepreneurs who were part of the original bank investment group and he served as chairman of both the bank board and the bank’s holding company, Galva Investment, Incorporated, for its first 36 years.

The original goal of building a new bank to better serve the lending and economic development needs of the Galva area was supported by 240 local investors; but the bank’s start was not without its challenges.  

“Perseverance and strong leadership moved us forward in each phase of our growth and will continue to do so,” Nelson said.

From its original office in a temporary facility in Galva, to the addition of two offices in Kewanee and an investment services division, and the acquisition of insurance services and offices in Neponset and Franklin, Nelson is proud of the calculated risks the bank and its holding company have taken over the years to strengthen and grow the organization.  

While it is easy to be proud of the bank’s success now, Nelson takes as much pride in those difficult early years that many businesses experience where he and other founding board members continued to invest financially and stayed the course to see their vision for a new community bank become a solid reality.

Now five offices and 52 employees strong, CSB has grown to over $200 million in assets and contributes to economic development via a strong commercial lending portfolio, roughly $23 million in agriculture lending, as well as an array of services for consumers.  

“The time we spent looking forward has brought us to where we are today as a full-service financial institution,” Nelson said. “By continuing to look forward, I am confident we will experience continued growth and success.”  

“Community State Bank is strong and our leadership is stronger,” Nelson added. “As my time in leadership and board service moves toward an end, I am confident that our customers and community will continue to be well-served at Community State Bank — the bank my friends have good-spiritedly referred to as ‘Wilbur’s Bank.’”