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First State Bank Legacy


First State Bank was the original name of First State Financial. We exist in large part due to the vision and endeavors of George H. Reese. A casual remark made on the streets of Pineville during the troublesome days of the early 1930's characterizes the life of Mr. Reese. Pointing toward the bank a citizen said, "Nothing will ever happen to that bank because it is backed by George Reese." No bank could ask for more sincere or conscientious backing than this.

The life of the bank and the life of Mr. Reese paralleled one another. During its early history, First State Bank was often referred to as Mr. Reese's Bank. Many depositors brought their savings from their homes in the hills and valleys around Pineville to the bank solely because of the reputation of George Reese. He viewed banking as a profession rather than just a way to make a living. He guarded his reputation diligently by confining his business activities to the task of running his bank. This policy prevented many profitable pursuits, yet it was paramount in preserving the integrity of First State Bank as an institution.


The relationship between the success of First State Bank and the involvement of the Reese family go hand in hand. George H. Reese began his family's legacy in the bank as a cashier in 1899. By 1917, he had worked his way up to the office of bank president, and he held that position until his death in 1951. Mr. Reese's nephew, George R. Bentley was elected president and served faithfully until 1963. George H. Reese, Jr. achieved the office of vice president before his death in 1967. In September of 1960, George H. Reese III began his career with the bank. He worked his way through several positions and served as the Chairman of the Board of First State Financial.

In June of 1998 Katherine J. Reese joined the family tradition. She brought to the table previous banking experience from Bank One, Louisville, Ky., First Guaranty Bank and Barnett Bank both in Jacksonville, Florida. Katherine and her father worked hand in hand as she worked her way through various positions at the bank holding the position of President/ Chief Executive Officer in 2007. Sadly in 2009 her father passed away.

Katherine is a Pineville High School graduate. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business from University of Alabama, certification in Loan Review from the American Bankers Association National School of Compliance in Oklahoma and graduated in June 2007 from the Graduate School of Banking in Boulder, Colorado. Katherine was appointed by the Governor to the Financial Institutions Board of Kentucky. She has been the President of the Bell County Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival and currently sits on the advisory board and is a Director. She is also Secretary for the Pineville Rotary Club, a graduate of Leadership Bell County, active in Bell-Whitley’s Repair Affair, a director of Downtown Pineville, Inc and involved with March of Dimes, Relay for Life and Cumberland Trails United Way. Katherine continues to serves as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board.


In late 2000, The Lexington Bank of Lexington, KY and Town and Country Bank based in Williamsburg, KY became part of First State Bank. Their dedication to providing quality, reliable and friendly financial services made them a perfect fit in the growing First State Bank family. Over the next few years, under the names The Lexington Bank and Town and Country Bank, additional branch offices were opened in Lexington and Williamsburg in Kentucky and Jellico in Tennessee.

In July 2004, in order to more accurately reflect the wide variety of growing banking and financial services we provide, First State Bank, The Lexington Bank, and Town and Country Bank became First State Financial. In June 2007 First State Financial opened New Tazewell Banking Center in The Rockwood Shopping Center New Tazewell Tennessee. To be more of a total financial center for our customers, Mountain Valley Insurance was purchased in March 2008. This will allow our customers to have easy access to any insurance needs. Further expansion began in 2017 to build a new branch in New Tazewell scheduled to open sometime later in the year. In addition to traditional checking and savings accounts, lending, Individual Retirement Accounts, Certificates of Deposits, Debit Cards, Credit Cards, Internet Banking, Bill Paying On-line and now remote deposit capture.
In August 2017, the Legacy that began 118 years ago with George H. Reese continues with taking back the original name First State Bank (of the Southeast).