Central Bank began its legacy on January 9, 1902, when Lon Stephens helped create Central Missouri Trust Company. He served as Missouri State Treasurer and then as Governor until January 1901.
Sam Baker Cook arrived in Jefferson City in 1900 and assumed the presidency of the Central Missouri Trust Company in 1905 after serving as Missouri’s Secretary of State. He began a legacy of service that continues to this day.
Cook was committed to serving Jefferson City. After the Capitol building burned in 1911, he fought with city leaders to ensure that Jefferson City would remain the state capitol.
In 1916, Cook moved the Central Missouri Trust Company into a seven-story Carthage stone building on the corner of Madison and High Street where it remains today. Jefferson City residents christened this building “the first skyscraper.”
In the first 15 years, the resources available to the bank more than tripled, and the company increased its commitment to help Jefferson City grow.
Sam Baker Cook continued to promote the company and his adopted hometown until his death in 1931. He was succeeded by his son, Howard, who began working at the bank as a high school student in 1905.
Howard took over the bank in the heart of the Great Depression, a period when the economic crisis threatened local and state government. When the state of Missouri could not make its payroll, or offer relief, Howard Cook agreed to make a $1 Million loan available to the state. Meanwhile, the bank continued to operate without any changes, and was one of the two banks in Jefferson City that survived the Depression.
Like his father before him, Howard Cook passed along the leadership of the bank to his son, Sam B. Cook in 1961. A veteran of World War II, and a graduate of Yale University, Cook presided over unprecedented expansion of the bank and its operations.
The company was renamed The Central Trust Bank in 1969, and then shortened to Central Bank in 1987.
Over the years, Central Bank continued to grow into a corporation, Central Bancompany, in 1970. Central Bancompany currently operates 13 banks throughout Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma with over $14 Billion in assets.
All aboard the Gateway to the West! Central Bank expands into St. Louis, Missouri, and acquires the bank that helped fund the 1904 World’s Fair. And to think, without the fair, ice cream cones, Dr. Pepper, and puffed cereal might not have been introduced to the world.
ATMs began revolutionizing the banking industry as early as 1969! Central Bank is excited to be an early adopter of the technology that makes it easier to connect customers with their accounts. We called it “The 24 Hour Bank” at the time.
During these years, Central Bank expanded its reach in Mid-Missouri markets to include Columbia, Mexico, Moberly, Springfield, and the Lake of the Ozarks.
Dogwood trees symbolize durability and the ability to withstand various challenges in life and thrives under the cover of larger and taller trees, just like our company and the large national banks. In 1987, Central Bank adopted the flower of this tree as a symbol to represent our brand. Being strongly rooted, withstanding the test of time, and blooming endless possibilities. The Dogwood is more than a mission symbol for our company, it’s a promise to ourselves and the communities we serve.
Central Bank is committed to serving the communities we’re in, and we’re happy to be able to make banking easier for more customers across our footprint.
Customers can now complete their banking business easier than ever! As an early leader in Internet Banking platforms, this functionality was an important advancement. This technology paved the way for more development – like our award-winning Mobile Banking App!
Headed East, South, and West! During this time, Central Bank expanded into Illinois, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
Cook, who served as a chairman of both Central Trust Bank and Central Bancompany starting in 1981, continued the bank’s family legacy when he named his son, S. Bryan Cook, Chief Executive officer in 2008.
Forbes Magazine began its Best Banks in America list in 2008 to rank the safest and most stable banks in America during the financial crisis. Forbes included Central Bancompany as a top ten bank in the country to illustrate strength and stability during the Great Recession.
Before this time, Central Bank operated under different bank names as we expanded our footprint. Since our name change, it’s easier for customers to recognize the Dogwood symbol and know there is someone at any location who can help.
After a lifetime of business success and amazing generosity in the form of philanthropy, Sam Cook passed away in July of 2016. As a leader in the community, Cook left a legacy of innovation.
He had an interest in higher education, serving at different times on the boards of William Woods College (now University) in Fulton, Washington University in St. Louis and the statewide University of Missouri Board of Curators.
He also served on statewide committees and boards charged with improving Missouri's public higher education system.
After his passing, we released a statement describing Cook as "a visionary who took a prominent bank in Jefferson City and transformed it into a multi-bank holding company with banks in four states. Under his leadership, Central Bancompany grew to be one of the largest and most respected bank holding companies in Missouri.
It just got a little more colorful! Central Bank expands into “Colorful Colorado,” and opens a full-service branch.
Forbes Magazine recognizes Central Bancompany on its list of Best Banks in America for the 12th consecutive year. This year, we were ranked as the 17th best bank in America.
Forbes recognized Central Bancompany as the Fourth Best Bank in America, and best bank in the markets we serve. Bryan Cook, Central Bancompany President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “This is a tremendous testament for our Company, especially, in the face of the extraordinary challenges brought on by the global pandemic. Our employees and management team rose to the challenge and continued to serve our customers in an exemplary manner, making this recognition possible.”
The future is bright! Central Bank continues to commit to taking an integral role in the community and serving our neighbors as we have for more than 100 years. We’re dedicated to continuous advancement, and providing our customers with the tools to make banking easier. Using the same vision and mission that guided our predecessors more than a century ago, we will continue providing cutting-edge technology, and offering legendary service at any opportunity.