The Roberts County National Bank was originally established in White Rock, South Dakota on September 15, 1896 as the White Rock State Bank, and has operated without interruption for over 100 years. The original bank organizers were Newell N. Powell, Harvey O. Powell and S.E. Oscarson. The White Rock State Bank received its national charter in 1902, becoming the First National Bank of White Rock.
The First National Bank of White Rock was purchased July 27, 1918 by John L. Caldwell and his son-in-law, A.W. Powell. A.W. Powell was not related to the previous owners.
Of the 21 banks existing in Roberts County in 1933, The First National Bank of White Rock was the only bank allowed to remain open after the Bank Holiday was declared in March 1933. Following the closure of all four banks in the county seat of Sisseton, the Comptroller of the Currency authorized the transfer of the charter to Sisseton and the change of the bank’s name to The Roberts County National Bank of Sisseton on August 12, 1933. The bank’s assets were transported from White Rock by employee F.H. Kouba. Traveling to Sisseton in a Ford Model A Coupe, Kouba was escorted by the White Rock town marshal and his shotgun.
The Roberts County National Bank began operating at 411 First Avenue East (now Veterans Avenue) in Sisseton in a building previously occupied by a bank that had gone out of business. It survived without reorganization during the years of the Great Depression. The bank moved to its current location at 5 East Maple Street in Sisseton in 1960 and continues to operate there today.
In 1956, A.W. Powell sold the controlling interest in the Roberts County National Bank to his son-in-law, Harold L. Torness, who served as bank president from 1970 until his death in 1999 at the age of 80. Torness’ son-in-law, John S. Rasmussen, and his son, William H. Torness, serve as the bank’s C.E.O. and President respectively. The Roberts County National Bank of Sisseton continues to be the only independently-owned hometown bank in Sisseton and is proud to have served the community for over 120 years.