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RBC 150
Written April 12, 2017


These are the Kyle kids, from pictures in my high school yearbooks:  Dan Kyle of the Class of 1964, and his sister Nancy of the Class of 1967.

Let me tell you about the business they ran for thirty years.  And let me tell you about the even greater heights it has achieved in the last decade.

Dan and Nancy grew up in the village of Richwood, Ohio, as did I.  Their parents were Kenneth and Freda Kyle .

In 1954 Kenny became the president of the Richwood Banking Company.  That was just two years after our family arrived in town, my father having become the Chevrolet dealer there.

Over the next two decades Mr. Kyle and Mr. Thomas would have many business dealings, including arranging auto loans for customers.

Eventually things changed.  Dan bought the house next to ours, my father retired, and I relocated to Pennsylvania.  Kenny Kyle died in 1977 and Dan succeeded him as bank president.

Apparently the bank was in need of additional capital in the fall of 1989.  Anyway, Dan made a suggestion.  Perhaps his next-door neighbor’s son — that would be me — might want to invest in the bank’s privately-held stock.  The annual dividends were rather small, but the stock had been steadily growing in value.  So, with my father acting as the go-between, I bought some shares at $16.86.  (In 2017, that stock is worth more than 12 times as much, and I’m told there’s a lengthy waiting list of people who’d like to buy shares.)

Four years later, in December of 1993, Dan died unexpectedly.  His sister Nancy, now Mrs. Rick Hoffman, succeeded him as bank president.

Nancy tells of being approached not long afterward by the CEO of a larger financial institution.  His first sentence: “Sorry for your loss, is the bank for sale?”  She told him “no” in rather emphatic terms.  (“The jerk.”)

The next month, her son Chad joined her at the bank.  My father described Chad to me in October of that year:

“He is an officer of the bank, a CPA, and is on his way, way up in the bank.  I don't know just what his official title is, but you can bet that Freda and Nancy will have him running the whole thing before long.  And I believe he is capable.”

Nancy remained president for another 13 years before retiring.  Chad was elected to succeed his mother in 2007.

So as of 2017, the bank has been headed by four members of the same family (Kenny, son, daughter, and grandson) for the last 63 years!

That’s a long time.  But it’s less than half of the institution’s lengthy history.  The bank is celebrating its 150th anniversary.


There were only about 400 village residents in 1867, when a local clergyman founded The Bank of Richwood.  It survived 19th-century panics and 20th-century depressions when other financial institutions were falling by the wayside.  Then it successfully competed when other banks tried to establish branch offices in town, proclaiming “Where others have their branches, we have our roots!”

Its Richwood office is this imposing marble-fronted structure on North Franklin Street.  The town is too small for a Starbucks franchise.  Therefore, “since Richwood Bank has a great location and a large lobby area,” says its website, “why not create a destination for those seeking a special experience?  We are dedicated to providing a relaxing atmosphere for people of all ages to come and enjoy free WiFi and the delicious drink of their choice!”  They call it Richwood Coffee.

I took the exterior photos, but most of the other pictures in this article are from Richwood Marketing and Bella Photographics.

“By the way,” the website continues, “if you have any banking needs, Richwood Bank is a few feet away ready to provide the same special experience with your finances!”  The baristas staff the counter in the center of this picture, while the tellers have their stations on the right.

“Richwood Coffee was built around the idea of community.  Every beverage ordered is a direct reward from a donation made to our chosen charities.  Giving back ... one cup at a time.”

At last report, more than $40,000 had been raised for the North Union Local Schools, the Richwood Independent Fair, Memorial Hospital, and United Way of Union County.

In 2017, the Richwood Coffee concept is being added to the Delaware branch and the new office under construction in Marysville.

Every spring the stockholders gather for the pro forma election of directors.  Last year’s meeting was attended by 350 people.

But for the event on April 10, 2017, it was necessary to move to a bigger venue in the suburbs of Columbus, as there were 415 reservations including mine.  Dinner music was provided by a string orchestra.

The after-dinner speakers attributed the bank’s success to innovative products and flexible terms.  They work to accomodate borrowers' particular situations.

And there are “valued service lines” beyond banking.

Besides Richwood Coffee, there’s Richwood Marketing over on East Ottawa Street, with 72 clients.  There’s Richwood Financial, offering services like financial planning.  There’s Richwood Payroll, with over 150 commercial clients.  There’s Richwood Insurance.

And, in the Human Resources department, there’s something called Richwood U.  Tim Coan, the bank’s director of education, told us that each new employee receives an intensive two days of training, with the goal being “expertise with personality.”

They’ve been doing something right, because every year since 2013, the Richwood Bank has been among the Top Workplaces recognized by Columbus CEO Magazine.

And its excellence has been honored far beyond central Ohio.  Last year Richwood was named the best community bank in the entire United States!  Read about it here, or watch this video.

At the dinner, loan officer Lindsay Hope looked to the future.  “Richwood Bank will be here for another 150 years!”



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