Bank of Wiggins History

The Bank of Wiggins opened on December 4, 1916, after the former Peoples Bank in Wiggins was liquidated.  According to an article in the Stone County Enterprise, December 1, 1966, Murphy Cooper arrived in Wiggins on the night of December 3, 1916, by train with the necessary cash with which to open the bank.  “Due to the train schedule, the money could not be shipped to Wiggins in time for the bank’s opening hour, and as a result, Mr. Cooper slept with the money under his pillow.  He admitted that it wasn’t the most restful night he ever spent, but he managed and was ready for business bright and early the following Monday morning.” 

In the article it goes on to say how Mr. Cooper reminisced that there was no electrical service to the bank.  Lights were not turned on until 6:00 in the evenings, and all accounting and bank records were done by human hand and pencil.  In 1966, looking over expense items for the bank, Cooper found two items the bank had not ordered for more than 45 years, namely firewood for 65 cents and kerosene for 10 cents.

Murphy Cooper started with the Bank of Wiggins as a cashier in 1916. Mr. S. E. Dunlap was President of the Bank of Wiggins in 1916.  Cooper became Vice President in 1930 and President in 1945. 

The Bank of Wiggins was located on First Street in the building that the Stone County Enterprise now occupies.  The Bank of Wiggins closed out the year of 1916 with $30,098.00 in total assets.  The deposits that year totaled $19,443.28, and loans totaled $3,499.00.  By 1945, the year Cooper became President, the bank had grown to $1,796,845.00 in assets and $68,742.00 in loans.  In those 29 years, the Bank of Wiggins had grown to just over 1.8 million in assets.  By 1969 when Camille devastated the Coast, the Bank’s assets totaled approximately 8.7 million.  The Bank grew 8.7 million in 53 years.  When Hurricane Katrina wiped the Coast out on August 29, 2005, the Bank’s assets then totaled just over 145 million, having grown over 136 million in 36 years, or about 3.8 million per year.  As of January 1, 2011, the Bank of Wiggins assets totaled over 188 million, having grown 43 million since Katrina, or about 8.6 million per year.  One must bear in mind that during the first 56 years of the Bank of Wiggins’ existence it was the only bank in Stone County. 

Today the Bank of Wiggins has three locations in Stone County.  The Main Office in the downtown area, the South Branch on Hwy 49 South, and the McHenry Branch in McHenry, are open for business.  A new branch, located across from Popeye’s chicken, should be opened in late 2011.  The Bank also has three convenient ATM locations along with drive thru service at every branch.  The Bank of Wiggins is a full service bank with a staff of experienced loan officers who are ready to meet the credit needs of the whole community.  The bank offers all types of checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, check cards, tax deferred annuities and safety deposit boxes. 

In the December 1, 1966 article from the Stone County Enterprise, after 51 years of association with the bank, Murphy Cooper stated, “The opportunities for expansion of the bank and community are far greater than ever, and that I anticipate another half century of growth as exciting in its potential as it will be demanding in its fulfillment.”

Jim Rabby, President of the Bank of Wiggins, said, “Mr. Cooper’s words in 1966 have certainly come true.  Since then, the Bank has grown more than $170 million.  As a matter of fact, the Bank of Wiggins grew more in the past 3 years than in its first 70 years of existence.”

We have only seen a glimpse of what lies ahead for Wiggins and Stone County.   The monster that called on August 29, 2005 has changed the playing field forever.  Growth and changes are upon us.  The opportunities are limitless.  The Bank of Wiggins’ motto has always been “Safety and Service since 1916.”  We plan to continue this and continue to serve this community as we have for over 100 years.