In the spring of 1946, elated with its recent victory over Japan, the nation was experiencing a postwar economic boom. Financial activity was also healthy 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 business transactions.
The town's first bank chartered in 1912 had been blown up in 1929 so there was no local bank serving this 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 on Geneva Drive. Record commercial and residential growth in the area increased the need for more operational space and so another addition was added to the existing building in 1993. As the surrounding communities expanded, Citizens Bank added 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 opened in March 2002. The Oviedo Marketplace Mall location was closed in 2009, and the Alafaya Office was closed in 2010 due to a downturn in the local economy.
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 and in Winter Park, so the boundaries were expanding. The stockholders agreed that it was time to adopt a new name for the bank as it began their 61st year in business!
The new name...Citizens Bank of Florida would now give the bank the flexibility to expand beyond their 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 their 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!
With a new name, the Citizens Bank of Florida began construction of its first office outside of Oviedo. In November of 2007, the Winter Park/Goldenrod office opened their doors and was welcomed into the community! Construction began soon after for its next location in Longwood, which opened in the Spring of 2008. In December 2017, the Sanford office opened their doors and was welcomed into the community. Citizens Bank of Florida would continue 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