History of the Bank
In 1933, Charles H. Jett, Sr. obtained a franchise for Servel Kerosene Refrigerators for Lexington and Central Kentucky. On January 1, 1936, Charles H. Jett, Jr. purchased the Servel Electrolux Gas Refrigerator franchise and business from his father.
Mr. Jett soon found that more refrigerators, stoves and other appliances could be sold if they were financed for $10 per month rather than selling them for $300 at one time. The beginning of the installment loan and collection business was an outgrowth of this strategy. Installment lending was new and bankers required that high reserves be kept which forced the new business to save. During World War II, these reserves allowed the proprietorship, Charles H. Jett Jr. Appliances, to continue to provide service to its customers. Many of these same people, their children and grand-children remain customers of the bank today.
Charles H. Jett, Jr. purchased the Jett Building at 101 East High Street in 1945 and remodeled the ground level and first floor for the operation of his appliance business in the spring of 1946. The second floor served as his home.
On January 31, 1947, Charles H. (Pappy) Jett, Jr. organized the corporation Jett's Inc. for the purpose of selling and servicing kitchen appliances. The corporate articles have been amended several times since that date. As the Founder of the Corporation, Pappy served continuously as Director for 36 years until his untimely death on April 25, 1983. During that time he served first as President and later as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Jett's quick wit, humor, ready smile and hand shake were his trademark with business associates and friends. His innovative ideas, guidance and understanding of people and the markets were valuable assets to us all.
The Jett's Inc. name was amended to Preferred Credit Corporation and an Industrial Loan Charter was obtained on September 10, 1956. During this period, the appliance sales and repair businesses were sold and moved to other locations. The newly established Preferred Credit Corporation occupied a portion of the first floor of the Jett Building. Later in 1966, the corporation developed the basic financial structure of a bank. The name was again amended to Bank of the Bluegrass and a commercial bank charter was obtained on April 10, 1972. FDIC Deposit Insurance was granted in 1973.
Early bank employees included Charles H. Jett, Jr., Charles H. Jett, III, Thomas F. Bloemer, Wanda Carpenter, Barbara Stephenson and Frank L. Cassell. These bank employees worked long hours ensuring the future success of the bank. Many of their relatives continue to work at the bank today.
In 1973, the vault, with the drive-up facility underneath, was constructed on the back of the Jett Building. On November 21, 1981, Trust services were added and the name was amended to Bank of the Bluegrass & Trust Co. Today, Jerry Johnson leads our Wealth Management Department (Trust) which has grown to over $179 Million in assets under management.
In 1982, a one bank-holding company was formed to protect the Bank's independence. Bluegrass Bancshares, Inc. holds 100% of the bank's stock, which is voted by the Bank's Chairman.
In 1983, Charles H. Jett III become Chairman of the Board & CEO upon the death of his father, Corporate Founder, Charles H. (Pappy) Jett Jr. “Charley” Jett III was responsible for chartering the Trust Company, founding Bluegrass Bancshares, Inc. and initiating the Bank's Strategic Planning process. Mr. Jett's extensive estate planning has helped ensure the bank's continuing independence.
On April 14, 2000, Mr. Charles H. Jett III passed away after 40 years of service to the Corporation. Mr. Mark R. Herren was elected his successor as Chairman of the Board & CEO and continues to lead us today.
September 13, 2003, Bank of the Bluegrass & Trust Co. opened its first branch at 215 Southland Drive, allowing for bank growth and employing over fifty employees for the first time.
In 2004, Bill Allen joined the Bank as President. In addition to developing customer relationships, Bill supervises both branch locations, Wealth Management, Financial Services, Business Development, Deposit Growth, Marketing and Human Resources.
Bank of the Bluegrass & Trust Co. continues to be your locally owned, independent community bank. The Jett family tradition remains with fourth generation Jett family members active in the management of the bank. Our focus continues to be providing high level customer service and creating relationships for life. Many of our valued employees have been with the bank for over 25 years.
The Corporation has evolved over time from a simple appliance store to a full service commercial bank and trust company. Controls have expanded to address changes in financial services including: Regulatory Compliance, Strategic Planning, Succession Planning, Credit Analysis, Capital Planning and Enterprise Risk Management.
Utilization of technology has also enhanced our customers' experiences. Internet & mobile banking, an extensive ATM network and KASASA Reward checking accounts are just a few of the resources provided to customers to allow for quick and efficient access to the bank. However, strong personal service has not gone away. We continue to greet our customers by name and strive to uphold the Mission Statement which starts with: “Doing Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You.”