Biz Buzz Monday: Jo Daviess County-based bank celebrates 75 years

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An independently chartered bank that began in Jo Daviess County, Ill., is celebrating a milestone anniversary.

Apple River State Bank is marking 75 years in operation this year. The bank currently has one location in Hazel Green, Wis., and five locations in Illinois: Apple River, Elizabeth, Hanover, Scales Mound and Warren, as well as a Galena location operating as First Community Bank of Galena.

“I think it’s kind of an impressive accomplishment, with maintaining our local independence and community bank philosophy through all these years,” said CEO Joel Holland of the 75-year anniversary. “At one time, there were 11 independently chartered banks in Jo Daviess County. Now, there’s only one.”

Holland said Apple River State Bank began in 1948 in Apple River after the community lost two bank locations during the Great Depression.

“The bank has always made a profit,” Holland said. “It has always had net income since 1948. There have certainly been some ups and downs, but it has always been able to generate a profit, and I think it comes form the support received from all the communities.”

First Community Bank of Galena was the bank’s second location and opened in 1995.

“That was probably one of the defining moments in the bank’s history,” Holland said. “Then, the additional offices came along the way. They’ve all added to the growth and prosperity of the bank.”

The Warren office opened in 1999, the Scales Mound office in 2001 and both the Elizabeth and Hanover offices were purchased in 2008. The Hazel Green office opened in 2019.

The eighth Apple River State Bank location will open later this year in Darlington, Wis., at 207 Wells St. Holland said remodeling is underway with hopes to open the branch in the spring.

Over the years, Holland said the local communities have shown a lot of support for the bank, and some families are in their third or fourth generation as shareholders.

“I think 75 years is a great accomplishment, and we’re certainly looking forward to the future as a community owned bank,” he said.

More information on Apple River State Bank, including all locations and their hours, can be found at