In the spring of 1946, elated with its recent victory over Japan, the nation was experiencing a postwar economic boom. Financial activity also grew in Oviedo due to three major agricultural families - Wheeler, Clonts, and Duda. The citrus and celery industry flourished and with prosperity came the need for a local bank where merchants could conveniently conduct their banking.
The town's first bank chartered in 1912 was bombed and closed in 1929 so there was no bank in Oviedo serving the local community. Area businesses were forced to bank in Orlando, Winter Park or Sanford. Company cash would then be transported by car from one of these cities for the weekly payroll. Because of a fear of robbers and the inconvenience to residents, a meeting was held to discuss the formation of a local bank. The founders were local businessmen primarily from the citrus, celery, cattle and fertilizer industries.
In March of 1946, a flyer was posted throughout the town calling together citizens who were interested in the idea. A community picnic was held in the Oviedo School gymnasium, which is now known as Lawton Elementary School. A group of local businessmen applied for and received a charter for a new state bank that officially opened on July 1, 1946. The bank was named The Citizens Bank of Oviedo and was originally located in a storefront on the main street of Oviedo. The bank eventually outgrew their small offices and needed to expand their building for future growth. In 1974, the bank moved to its present location at 156 Geneva Drive in Oviedo. Record commercial and residential growth in the area increased the need for more operational space, so the Bank expanded its existing building in 1993. As the surrounding communities expanded, Citizens Bank continued to expand by opening additional branches. The Alafaya Office was opened in April 1986, the mall office located inside the Oviedo Marketplace Mall opened in March 1999 and the Red Bug Office in Oviedo opened in March 2002. The Oviedo Marketplace Mall location was closed in 2009, and the Alafaya Office was closed in 2010 since the Red Bug Office and the Main Office were successfully servicing the Oviedo customers.
Over many years, the independent bank's commitment to "honest and fair dealing" as put forth by the founders, earned the confidence of its customers. Those four words came to mean integrity, professionalism, and honorable moral conduct. The Citizens Bank of Oviedo soon became known as "The Friendly Hometown Bank" and remains so to this day.
In March 2006, the bank celebrated its 60th Anniversary and invited the community to attend a reception with an afternoon filled with festivities to celebrate this important milestone. A memorabilia display was set up in the bank's lobby that included the bank's artifacts and historical pictures and documents. Immediately following this celebration, the annual Stockholders Meeting of the bank was held where plans were discussed to build a branch office outside of Oviedo. The bank had recently purchased property in Longwood in Seminole County and in Winter Park in Orange County, so the boundaries were expanding. The stockholders agreed that it was time to adopt a new name for the bank as it began its 61st year in business!
The new name Citizens Bank of Florida would now give the bank the flexibility to expand within the traditional trade area and beyond. The stockholders were adamant that it was a change of name only, as the ownership, management and staff would remain the same. The bank's commitment to community banking and independence in serving their customers would remain the key focus. The Citizens Bank of Oviedo would officially become Citizens Bank of Florida effective September 1, 2006. Simply stated, it's just a new name for an old friend!
Citizens Bank of Florida continued to expand its footprint when they opened the Winter Park/Goldenrod office in Orange County in November 2007. The Longwood office opened in March 2008 and the Sanford office opened in the historic downtown area in December 2017 expanding its boundaries within Seminole County. The DeLand office opened in June 2019, making its first entry within Volusia County. Citizens Bank of Florida continues to embrace the legacy of what The Citizens Bank of Oviedo started in 1946. The Citizens Bank brand of banking that has been enjoyed for generations would now be offered to a new host of customers!
Original Location of The Citizens Bank of Oviedo