Wheatland, OK main street

The history of First Bethany Bank begins in 1904

1903 saw the organization of Ford Motor Company, the dedication of the New York Stock Exchange’s new building at Broad and Wall Streets, the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, and the coming together of a group of small farmers and merchants in the community of Wheatland, Oklahoma Territory, to form a bank. The Territorial Commissioner of Banking awarded a charter for the Farmers State Bank of Wheatland in 1904. Through Statehood, Prohibition and the Great War it served the small farmers and businessmen in rural southwestern Oklahoma County.

The Great Depression was felt in both Wheatland and Bethany. Bethany’s local bank failed in 1932. The town of Wheatland went into a decline from which it never recovered. In 1938, sensing that there was no future for a bank in Wheatland, the shareholders and directors requested permission to relocate nine miles north to Bethany in the premises of the failed bank. Upon regulatory approval three years later the name was changed and The First National Bank of Bethany was opened.

Not until 1960 was there significant growth in Bethany with the construction of the Western Electric plant to the south. Nevertheless, the bank struggled to compete in the growing Oklahoma City metropolitan area, and by 1967 was on the verge of failure. With the blessing of the regulators, Peter G. Pierce acquired control in May 1967.

The next fifteen years was a period of rapid growth until the closure of Penn Square Bank in July 1982. Through the 1980’s after Penn Square, banks were failing at the rate of nearly one per month. The year 1983 posted a record return on assets for the bank, as Mr. Pierce did not indulge in the excesses of the oil boom economy. When other banks were making what proved to be disastrous loans on unrealistic terms, Pierce adhered to traditional, lower-risk business practices, for which Bethany Bank owes its survival through one of the darkest periods in Oklahoma state banking history.

In 1973 the main office was moved to its current location 6500 NW 39th Expressway, on US Route 66, historically celebrated as “The Mother Road.” Years later a branch office was added at the corner of Southwest 29th and Meridian. Following conversion to an Oklahoma state-charter, the name became First Bethany Bank & Trust. Customer deposits have been and continue to be insured by the FDIC.

Mr. Pierce passed away on September 12, 1993. Pierce’s two sons followed in his footsteps until their passing. Proudly boasting that glass ceilings were broken, today, Pierce’s daughter-in-law serves as Chair of the Board and the current and preceding Presidents are women.

First Bethany Bank is proud of its long history within the Bethany community and looks forward to maintaining its place as a premier independent community bank, holding to its core value that people are central to the business and core purpose to be the capital driver in the community and greater Oklahoma City metro, most especially to be known as the go-to bank for small to mid-sized family businesses.

We are honored that in early 2024 we were given the status of “Women’s Depository Institution” (WDI) by the Federal Reserve. Over 58% of our primary shareholders are women* and a significant percentage of our senior management positions are held by women.

*Individual shareholders, not including Joint or Family Trusts.

Wheatland, OK main street

Wheatland, OK main street

The original bank building in Wheatland, OK

1904 – The original bank building in Wheatland, OK. Reclassified by the State Banking Board in 1922 as First National Bank of Wheatland

Map that shows Wheaton and the current location in Bethany

Location of Wheatland and the current location in Bethany

Farmer's State Bank on 66 Highway in Bethany

1941 – Wheatland had been absorbed into OKC, and the previous Bethany bank had failed. Shareholders move the bank 9 miles North to Bethany, at the corner of College and Main and it becomes the First National Bank of Bethany.

1961 – First National moves a block South to
38th and College

News article about the planned new building at 39th and Donald

News article about the planned new building

1974 – First National moves to the current
location at 39th Expwy and Donald

News article about the new Bank Tower being built

1981 – News article about the new Bank Tower being built


2004 – South Branch is built at
Meridian and SW 29th