Western State Bank is family owned and doing business in banking centers from St. Francis in northwest Kansas to Dodge City in southwest Kansas. In 1973 the Western State organizing stockholders were granted permission to open their bank in Garden City by the Kansas state bank commissioner’s office. The original stockholders were a large group of Garden City citizens. Western became the third bank operating in Garden City at the time.
First State Bank of Leoti had been operating since 1892. It made it through the Great Depression of the 1930’s. In 1973 Frank and Jan Whitham, of Leoti, purchased the bank from the Jack Barr family. The Whithams purchased controlling interest in Western State in 1977, purchased the remaining stockholders’ shares over time and merged First State Bank in to Western State.
Jeff Whitham, Chairman