Since 1934, SCBT has been committed to meeting the financial needs of our customers and being actively involved in the communities we serve.
The Early Years
Founded in 1933 at a time when the Great Depression had seen many financial institutions close their doors, South Carolina Bank and Trust was started by seven farsighted men who were determined to bring banking services to Orangeburg, SC. Robert Lide, a prominent Orangeburg attorney, and businessmen Wallace C. Bethea, D.A. Gardner, W.L. Glover, E.V. Mirmow, Dwight Moseley, and Dr. C.A. Mobley were the organizers. Each pledged a minimum stock purchase of $1,000 and together raised $62,500 through the sale of stock, which required concerted effort, and borrowed a matching amount from the federal government’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation.
“Dollars in those days were as big as cartwheels. Teachers were being paid off in State notes. Cities were using scrip to pay employees,” Bethea commented. “The depression hurt just about everyone and money was hard to come by.”
"Protect the depositor first, the stockholder next, and take a leading role in the community."
Born in 1914, a Columbia customer remembers when the bank was formed. “My father had some of the original stock he received when the bank was opened. He had some money in a bank that failed during the depression. Mr. Bill Glover told him that a new bank was being formed and asked him to accept stock in the new bank in lieu of the money. My dad accepted and we’ve had stock in South Carolina Bank and Trust ever since. I opened my first account at the new bank in 1934.”
As a result of their determination, South Carolina Bank and Trust opened its doors as First National Bank in Orangeburg on January 2, 1934. Located in the old Edisto National Bank building at 170 Russell Street in Orangeburg, the company featured just six employees under President Robert Lide. The bank completed its first year of operation with deposits of $1,133,099 and profits of $1,395. The early success was in large part due to the commitment of the directors, who met each day to consider loans.
Lide served as president of the bank for almost ten years and was succeeded by another founding director, W. L. Glover, in 1942. When the United States entered World War II, Glover volunteered for military service and Wallace C. Bethea became the third president of FNB 1943.
Bethea, who passed away in 1982, was an integral part of the bank’s history. His conservative business sense and love for his community helped develop a philosophy that has never been forgotten by South Carolina Bank and Trust: to protect the depositor first, the stockholder next, and to take a leading role in the community.
In 1965, O.S. Burns, a dedicated officer and longtime employee, succeeded Bethea as president of the bank. At that time Bethea was named Chairman of the Board.
The untimely death of O.S. Burns placed W.C. Bethea back in the president’s office for a short time during 1970 and 1971 until Rudolph Bozard, another dedicated and longtime officer and employee of the bank, was elected by the bank’s Board of Directors as the fifth president of FNB.
Focus Changes with Economy
By their 40th Anniversary in 1974, the bank had 120 employees and deposits of $56,310,162. When the bank first opened, the economy of the areas it served was based primarily on agriculture. The Board of Directors had to monitor the changing climate and guide the bank through the growth and changes into a more diversified economy based on industry.
“We used to be interested in the price of cotton,” said Bethea in a quote in the 1974 annual report. “Today, its more pertinent to know how certain industries are doing and what is the per capita income.”
Under the next president, prominent Orangeburg attorney Charlton B. Horger, the bank continued to prosper from internal growth as well as new offices. In 1978, Horger was elected to the position of Chairman of the Board and J. Donald Collier was elected president and CEO of the bank.
By the end of 1984, the bank had 15 offices and more than 200 employees – quite a lot of progress from its start with the half dozen employees in a single office. L. D. Westbury was named president in 1986. C.J. Hipp, III, was elected president and CEO in 1994. Robert R. Hill Jr., president since 1999 was elected president and CEO in 2004. John Windley was named president in 2006.
New Name, New Era
In May 2002, we unveiled our mission to become South Carolina’s premier community bank. Through a commitment to providing the best financial services with a personal touch, we have created mutually rewarding, long-term relationships with our customers.
To accomplish this mission, the company announced that it would change the name to South Carolina Bank and Trust and relocate our headquarters to Columbia, the center of the state.
Over the years, there have also been a lot of changes in banking, but one thing hasn’t changed—the customer always comes first.
The success the bank has enjoyed since 1934 is due to the dedication and hard work of the directors, officers and employees of SCBT, and the trust and confidence of the many valued customers and friends in the communities we serve. With over 1,100 employees, South Carolina Bank and Trust continues to be progressive and to face the challenges in the ever-changing market place.
“South Carolina Bank and Trust is committed to meeting the needs of our customers and the communities we serve,” said Robert R. Hill Jr., CEO. “This philosophy has served our company well, and we will continue this legacy of service as we enter the next era in our company’s history.”