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Family Matters

Larry McLaren Dec 19, 2022
collage of bank employees


In the desperation of trying to stay relevant and up-to-date within the banking industry, more and more community banks are falling prey to merger mania, albeit losing these banks means losing a part of the community. However, the Crews family remains dedicated to serving its local communities through its family of banks offering modernized banking services that give a customer something more than any sizable corporate bank could ever offer– a family. The Crews family of banks includes Wauchula State Bank, Charlotte State Bank & Trust, Englewood Bank & Trust, and Crews Bank & Trust. Although separate banking charters, each bank represents the time-honored values and principles of the Crews family.

It’s All in the Family 

Starting in 1932 when J.W. Crews, Sr. acquired controlling interest in Wauchula State Bank, which opened its doors in 1929, the Crews family has made it its mission to remain a family-owned and operated bank. Clients are served with flexible, tailored personal and business banking products and familial customer service. Over the decades, the Crews family expanded their potential in 1980 by establishing Crews Banking Corporation and DeSoto Banking Corporation while purchasing a controlling interest in First State Bank of Arcadia. Later that decade, the Crews family opened Charlotte State Bank (1987) and helped established Englewood Bank (‘88), gaining controlling interest in 2004. 

Today, multiple generations work within the bank. Mark Crews, Chief Information Officer, and Dena Crews, Director, are third-generation bank leaders who are passionate about company culture and continue to serve and oversee growth. J.W. “Jake” Crews IV, CEO, is the fourth generation to work at the bank. He values what his family has built over the years and sees his role as a great responsibility to implement the same values and timeless banking principles his great-grandfather established more than 90 years ago, which include delivering quality and relevant services with a hometown touch. 

A Hometown State of Mind 

So how does the Crews family of banks provide its customers with modernized banking services with familiarity? They believe banking is about the relationship between a bank and its customers, not just a transaction number.- This commitment to their relationships within their respective communities is integral to who they are.

The Crews family learned long ago that to meet their customers' needs, they must first invest in the lives of their employees. This dedication is why so many of their team members have worked at one of the family of banks for decades, with some devoting half a century of their life to a career they love. Many others have continued to be customers long after their employment because they want to remain a part of the culture that these banks have been building for almost a century. By investing in the lives of their employees, the Crews family knew the rapport would carry over to the customer, creating a real sense of community. This mentality is the foundation of what has made the Crews family of banks successful even in the difficulties of local and global financial uncertainties.

The Heartbeat of Communities

The Crews family of banks services 22 locations, spanning 13 Florida counties and employs nearly 400 individuals. Within those communities, each bank is known for putting its customers above all and working with them to be trusted advisors. They believe in generating local economies by supporting small businesses and helping them achieve their goals. 

As current CEO, Jake Crews has witnessed firsthand the Crews family of banks being the heartbeat of the community. He recalls interacting with a customer who received his first loan from his grandfather, J.W. “Bill” Crews, and has continued to bank with the Crews family for decades. Jake feels pride in being a part of a family that helps others build their lifelong dreams of starting their own businesses and contributing to creating strong communities. 

When you are the heartbeat of a community, you have a vested interest in ensuring it succeeds. The Crews family of banks knows it is the customer-centric principles and relationships they build with customers that set them apart. 

Time-Tested Principles

Much in banking has changed since the Crews family took controlling interest in Wauchula State Bank in 1932. However, the principle of treating others the way you want to be treated has always been the Crews family's goal. Customers can rest assured that the bank is there to work with them in good times and bad.  

Since its inception in 1929, the banks have experienced many financial crises and survived, unlike so many other community banks. Bill Crews, former President and now Vice Chairman of the Board, attributes their success to their willingness to “buckle down.” When others overextended their loan portfolios, the Crews family of banks relied on their “war chest” and was able to take some losses. This principle of always being prepared for a rainy day has gotten them through the Great Depression and the Great Recession. The Crews family continues to value its customer above all else and works with individuals and businesses as their trusted advisors through difficult circumstances. 

Looking to the Future

The Crews family of banks remains unified in its goal of being the hometown bank of choice for years to come. The Crews identity will continue to lie in their commitment to their communities and helping them thrive. The Crews family and leadership team know how rare it is for a community bank to endure the ups and downs of the economy. They pride themselves in their resolve to remain family-owned and operated for generations to come. Communities can trust this family of banks to preserve the values of a community bank by continually investing in individuals, families, and small businesses in the coming generations.


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