First National Bank of Omaha

First National Bank of Omaha

company_name = First National Bank of Omaha
company_type = Private
foundation = Omaha, Nebraska
December 10, 1857 (as Kountze Brothers Bank);
July 1, 1865 (First National Bank of Omaha)
location = flagicon|USA Omaha, Nebraska
key_people = Rajive Johri, President (FNBO)
Stephen Eulie, President (FNCCC)
num_employees =
parent = First National of Nebraska
subsid = First National Bank Southwest
First National Bank of Iowa
FNBO Direct
First National Credit Card Center
First National Merchant Solutions
industry = Finance and Insurance
products = Financial Services
homepage = []

First National Bank of Omaha, a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska, has a history that parallels that of the city of Omaha and the state of Nebraska. [(nd) [ History of First National Bank of Nebraska] First National Bank of Nebraska. Retrieved 7/1/07.]

Board of Directors

First National Bank is able to accomplish great things for its customers thanks to the leadership of executives with an unwavering commitment to personal service. The kind of service that brings customers back to First National Bank generation after generation. The First National Board of Directors is made up of family stockholders, independent directors, and management of the bank and its holding company. The Chairman of the Board is Bruce Lauritzen, whose family owns a controlling interest in the Bank's holding company. [ [ Board of Directors] First National Bank of Omaha. Retrieved 9/19/08]
*Nick Baxter
*Margaret Dodge
*Rajive Johri
*Bruce Lauritzen
*Spanky Lauritzen
*Dan O'Neill
*Cris Stone
*Mike Summers



More than 150 years after being founded, and in its sixth generation of family leadership, First National Bank is recognized as the largest privately held bank in the country with $21 billion in managed assets.

1850 to 1899

In 1850, a group of settlers from Kanesville, Iowa crossed the Missouri River to picnic in the newly named Nebraska Territory. One of the visitors, Thomas Davis, helped found Omaha when he donates $600 in gold dust for an official charter. He eventually serves on First National Bank's Board of Directors. Two immigrant brothers from Ohio, Herman and Augustus opened Kountze Brothers Bank in 1857. Omaha's first bank opened its doors and started trading primarily in gold dust and buffalo hides. Kountze Brothers Bank receives national charter #209 in 1863. Today, theirs is the oldest national bank west of the Missouri River. In 1863, they also began doing business as First National Bank of Omaha and brought in additional investors, including Edward Creighton, who served as president.

In 1883, Herman Kountze speculated on land in North Omaha, eventually developing an affluent Omaha suburb called Kountze Place in the former town of Saratoga. The panic of 1893 sparks the worst depression of the 19th century. In 1895, twelve businessmen from Omaha, including Herman Kountze, started the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben. Their mission, "to build a more prosperous Heartland, where communities can flourish and every child can succeed," carries on to this day. In 1898 Herman Kountze donated the use of 60 acres of his Kountze Place development for the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, one of the crowning events in Omaha's history. Featuring a lagoon filled with Venetian gondolas, it attracted 2.6 million visitors at a time when Omaha's population was roughly 100,000.

1900 to 1949

In 1913, First National Bank became one of the first banks to specifically target women with a Ladies' Department. Staffed with female tellers in a comfortable and accommodating setting, it helped make banking a mainstream activity for women. During a five-year span ending in 1933, the Great Depression caused more than 750 Nebraska banks to close. On one Saturday in August, skittish depositors begin withdrawing their funds "en masse" from Omaha banks. When their requests were met, the banks proved their solvency; if not, the banks faced almost certain collapse. During this period First National Bank extended their hours, honored every withdrawal and proved their financial strength once and for all.

1950 to 1999

In 1953, under the visionary leadership of John Lauritzen, First National Bank became the first bank in the region and the fifth in the nation to issue their own credit card. It proved to be one of the most innovative and profitable moments in their history. Also in 1953, [ First National Merchant Solutions] began processing for 125 merchants. [ [ About First National, SPC d/b/a First National Merchant Solutions] . Retieved 2/9/2008.] In 1971 employees start moving into the 22-story First National Center. Attached to a 420-room hotel and a 550-stall parking garage, it became one of the most modern and attractive buildings in the region, providing some much-needed economic development in downtown Omaha.

Founded in 1988 by First National Bank Omaha, Laser One specializes in highly complex variable mailings such as billing statements and investment performance reports. In addition, their variable print capabilities generate some of the most sophisticated, targeted direct mail pieces ever seen [ [ Laser One - A First National Company] . Retrieved 6/17/2008.]

2000 to present

In 2000 First National Bank designated two parcels of green space for the city of Omaha. They are the current sites of two sculpture parks called "Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness" and "Pioneer Courage". Working in tandem, the two sculptures join to make one of the largest bronze sculptures in the world. In 2002 First National Bank completed construction on the First National Tower, the tallest building between Chicago and Denver. With almost a million square feet of office space, it dramatically changed Omaha's skyline. The First National Technology Center is also completed, becoming the first business in the country to utilize hydrogen fuel cells.

Thanks in part to their Child Development Center, in 2002 First National Bank is selected one of "America's Best Companies for Working Mothers" according to "Working Mother" magazine, an honor that has been repeated annually. In 2003 First National Bank was named "One of America's Most Admired Companies", as judged by their peers for "Fortune" Magazine. FNBO Direct, an online savings account, began operations in 2006 [(nd) [ First National Bank Online] . Retrieved 7/1/07.] . First National was named to IDG's "Computerworld" "100 Best Places to work in Information Technology", in 2007, an honor which was repeated in 2008. [ [] Retrieved 6/26/2008.]

First National Bank opened a new 'state-of-the-art' branch in Papillion, Nebraska. [ [ First Focus Newsletter (Winter 2008)] . Retrieved 2/5/2008.] The features at this new branch includes::*Learning Center: a place to learn more about the products and services :*Business Center: computer, phone, fax, copy machine and free wireless access for the business customers. There is also 'business specific' teller windows:*Gourmet Coffee Bar:*Kids Area: a place just for kids to play games and watch kid-friendly shows:*Super ATM: no deposit envelopes needed and will save customized preferences for that particular ATM:*Retina Scan Safe Deposit Box Entry

It was announced on February 8, 2008 that Mills County Bank in Glenwood, Iowa and Silver City, Iowa will be First National Bank of Omaha, effective February 9, 2008. The full transition to First National Bank was completed on June 20, 2008.

In March 2008, First National Bank opened a new branch with their new partnership with Scooter's Coffeehouse, based out of Bellevue, Nebraska. This new branch is located in the Old Market in Downtown Omaha. [ [ Bankers and Baristas: Businesses to combine at Old Market site] . Retrieved 4/19/08.]


Currently, First National Bank has branches in Nebraska, Iowa and Texas. In Nebraska, there are 20 branches in Omaha, four in Lincoln, two in Beatrice, and one in Bellevue, David City, and Papillion.Texas is also the home to four branches, however, they operate under the name of First National Bank Southwest. There are currently two branches in Frisco and two in Plano.On February 9, 2008, Mills County Bank in Iowa became First National Bank of Omaha. There is currently a branch in Glenwood and Silver City. These are the first FNBO branches in Iowa. The first branch in Council Bluffs opened on July 28, 2008.

In the June 19, 2008 edition of the Omaha World-Herald, Rajive Johri, president of First National Bank, stated that First National had planned to open a branch office in Des Moines, Iowa this summer, but due to the recent flooding in the area, the opening date is being pushed back to the fall. [(nd) [] . Retrieved 6/21/2008.]

The first First National Bank Iowa branch opened in Des Moines on June 30, 2008.

FNBO Direct

Call Center located in Omaha, Nebraska

FNBO Direct, a division of First National Bank of Omaha, started operations in November 2006 at a 5.25% Annual Percentage Yield (APY).

FNBO Direct launched a nationwide campaign to promote their online savings account on May 1, 2007. In honor of the bank's 150th anniversary, the APY was placed at 6.0% for 150 days from May 1 through September 28, 2007.

In an e-mail sent to customers at the end of August, it was announced that the FNBO Direct Credit Card will give a competitive interest rate and cash back rewards that would be deposited directly into the online savings account. The credit card product launched to a selected number of customers that currently have an online savings account on September 26, 2007.

On November 28, 2007, FNBO Direct launched an Online Billpay account as well as offering a certificate of deposit available, at first, for four different terms (9 month, 12 month, 18 month, and 24 month). Currently, customers are able to choose from a six month term as well.

First National Merchant Solutions

In addition to being a top-10 payment processor, First National Merchant Solutions is also the 4th largest bank processor in the United States and is the 6th largest in-house processor of credit cards.

In 1967, First National Bank of Omaha automated many of its manual credit card processes and was the first credit card processing center in the nation to offer descriptive billing statements. In 1988, First National Bank of Omaha became the first processor to develop authorization slips for restaurants with a blank area for including tip.A couple of years later, FNBO's acquiring division was renamed to First of Omaha Merchant Processing. First of Omaha Merchant Processing received the 1994 Member Service Quality Performance Award for Best Copy Performance by an acquirer with Visa sales over $1.5 billion.In 2002, First of Omaha Merchant Processing changed its name to First National Merchant Solutions. A year later, FNMS celebrated its 50th year of processing payments. First National Merchant Solutions became one of the first processors to offer merchants ACH and credit card transactions in the same batch file in 2004. The following year, First National Merchant Solutions introduced First Resolution OnlineTM, the first chargeback management tool in the market to allow merchants to resolve chargebacks online.

First National Credit Card Center

Call Center locations: Omaha, Nebraska; Bloomfield, Nebraska; Kearney, Nebraska; Norcross, Georgia; Wayne, Nebraska; Yankton, South Dakota

In January 1953, John Lauritzen focused his inventive attention on First National's consumer finance operation. Lauritzen's "First Charge" card, which made its debut in March of 1953, remains to this day the most profitable innovation in First National's long history [Szmrecsanyi, Dr. Stephen: "The First National Bank Story", page 61. First National Bank of Omaha, 1996 ]

The bank issued a simple little card, which was nothing more than a white piece of plasticized paper, complete with a green logo, and an inscription which spelled "First Charge Account Service" and a red number which served to identify the cardholder. [Szmrecsanyi, Dr. Stephen: "The First National Bank Story", page 61. First National Bank of Omaha, 1996 ]

First National Credit Card Center (FNCCC) is one of the top three banks serving the credit card needs of other financial institutions, including Union Bank of California and Sovereign Bank. FNCCC also services credit cards for the National Rifle Association, Major League Lacrosse, World of Warcraft, Scheels All Sports, just to name a few.

SunTrust Bank announced on December 12, 2006, that it has signed an agreement with Atlanta-based InfiCorp Holdings, Inc. (subsidiary of First National of Nebraska) for issuing consumer credit cards. Under terms of the agreement, InfiCorp will market, originate and service SunTrust-branded cards starting in the first quarter of 2007, focusing on SunTrust clients. [cite press release
title = SunTrust Signs Agreement with InfiCorp for Consumer Credit Cards
publisher = SunTrust Banks, Inc.
date = 2006-12-12
url =
accessdate = 2007-04-08

Interest Rate Battles

An Iowa resident by the name of Fred Fisher received an unsolicited BankAmericard from First National Bank of Omaha, in February 1969. Fisher filed a complaint against the Omaha bank on September 3, 1971, for exporting Nebraska's higher interest rates to his state. He told the U.S. District Court that since the Iowa legislature had fixed the usury ceiling at nine percent, First National was breaking the law by charging him 18 percent for advance of up to $500.

Marquette threatened by taking the Omaha bank to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary if their practice continued. The Marquette bank offered credit cards for a $10 fee at a flat rate of 12 percent interest on outstanding credit. First National required no fee and it charged 18 percent interest for credit up to $500 and 12 percent on all additional balances.

Marquette began to lobby for the passage of a state law designed to put a 12 percent ceiling on all bank credit card outstandings. In May 1976, about one month after that measure was signed into law, Marquette filed a suit to make its Omaha rival conform to the 12 percent limit.

The decision maintained that the 115-year-old National Bank Act takes precedence over usury statues in individual states. Justice William Brennan wrote that the 1863 law permitted a national bank to charge interest at the rate allowed by the regulations of the state in which the lending institution is located.

On July 25, 1979, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned their decision that was made on August 30, 1978.

(All of the information above was obtained from the book "The First National Bank Story", written by Dr. Stephen Szmrecsanyi, which was published in 1996.)

Closing of the Kearney Call Center

It was announced on the Kearney Hub's website that the Kearney call center will be closing, effective February 28, 2009. [ [ First National Credit Card Center in Kearney closing; 89 jobs affected] Kearney Hub. Retrieved 9/24/08] FNBO plans to move its customer service operations in Kearney to its locations in Bloomfield, Omaha and Wayne, Nebraska, after formal approval by its board of directors.

"First National Credit Card Center has been growing profitably over the past three years. This consolidation plan is designed to fully utilize our call center facilities to support future growth, while allowing us to be more efficient." President Stephen Eulie said in a press release. "It will result in a significant increase in the number of employees at our other sites and improved career options for those individuals." He said the decision to close the Kearney call center and move those positions will enable the company to more effectively centralize operations functions while reducing the expense of managing its overall business.

Operations at the call centers include inbound customer service, credit card collections, account activity alert and fraud prevention, credit analysis, credit account processing, specialized customer contact and technology support. First National has operated the call center in Kearney since 1992.

ee also

*FNBO Direct
*First National of Nebraska

External links

* [ First National Bank of Omaha]
* [ FNBO Direct]
* [ First National Merchant Solutions]
* [ First National of Nebraska]
* [ First National Bank of Iowa]
* [ First National Bank Southwest]
* [ Laser One]
* [ Mills County Bank] -new bank acquired by First National Bank of Omaha
* [ Scooter's Coffeehouse] First ever partnership with First National Bank


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