In 1876, a forward-thinking group of Yazoo-area businessmen formed a bank to supply capital for the cotton industry, which was finally rebounding after the devastation of the Civil War. Over the next 40 years, Bank of Yazoo weathered all manners of challenges, from Yellow Fever epidemics to major floods to plummeting cotton prices to the infamous 1904 fire that claimed not only the Bank’s offices, but 27 blocks of Yazoo City. After the fire, the Bank rebuilt in a more favorable location, and by 1914, the Bank became a “guaranteed” bank with deposits approaching $1 million.
When the Great Depression reached Yazoo City, the Bank took swift action, closing briefly to keep deposits and depositors safe from a “run” on the Bank. In 1935, the same year Bank of Yazoo began accepting FHA home loan applications, it was also accepted by the newly formed Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. As World War II approached, Bank of Yazoo proved equally foresighted, entering into an agreement to sell U.S. Defense Savings Bonds six months to the day before Pearl Harbor. A few years later, after oil was discovered in the county, the Bank began encouraging yet another industry with loans for oil leasing and drilling. By 1945, resources were up to nearly $6.5 million, and the Bank was accepted as a member bank of the Federal Reserve System.
The 1950s brought drive-through service for customers, another first for Yazoo City banking, while the 1960s and 1970s saw record growth in deposits, branches and service when the Bank opened its personal loan department in 1976. In the late 1980s, the first ATM was installed at the Grand Avenue branch in Yazoo City. More recently, Bank of Yazoo marked the new millennium with adoption of modern technologies such as online and mobile banking. The Bank also successfully entered into new markets: in Rankin County with the opening of the Crossgates branch in 2003 (with its permanent site opening in 2005) and the Flowood branch in 2007, and also in Madison County with the opening of the Flora branch in 2005.
The Great Recession of 2007-08 which was caused by a mortgage loan crisis and a collapsed housing market did not impact the Bank to a large degree because of conservative underwriting standards. We keep the home loans that we make on our own books and do not sell them. Bank of Yazoo had less than 10 residential foreclosures and weathered the Great Recession without taking any government bailout assistance.
A decade later, the Bank continues to be very well-capitalized with strong reserves. This position of strength allows the Bank to serve and support the financial needs of the communities in which it operates. By making decisions locally, Bank of Yazoo remains committed to providing a highly personalized, responsive banking experience with the highest standards of integrity.