The First National Bank of Cape Girardeau was organized May 23, 1891. On August 7, 1891 the Office of the Comptroller of Currency published a certification in the local Cape Girardeau newspaper authorizing The First National Bank of Cape Girardeau to commence the business of banking. The bank opened for business on August 20, 1891 with $50,000 of capital and 33 shareholders. David A. Glenn was President and Loren S. Joseph was Cashier. The original address of the bank was 118 N. Main but it moved April 29, 1904 to 117 N. Main (the picture above) and in 1956 it moved to 100 Broadway. The bank operated successfully until March 5, 1914 when national bank examiner W.E. Patterson closed the bank due to "bad paper" with $80,000 of loans classified as worthless. The bank reopened Wednesday, March 18, 1914 with Judge William B. Schaefer as President and George S. Summers as Cashier. Judge Schaefer was described in a newspaper article at that time as a prosperous, conservative yet progressive local businessman. Mr. Summers, formerly Assistant Cashier, was credited with identifying and halting some of the bank's transactions and demanding an audit be initiated by the Board. The Board of Directors rewarded Mr. Summers with a promotion to Cashier.
At the time of its closing, national bank stockholders were responsible up to 2x the value of their stock holdings to meet any shortage in the bank's funds. When the Board and shareholders decided to re-open the bank it was agreed that the bank should be opened in a manner that inspired its stability. Instead of putting just enough capital to cover the "bad paper" (which the government required), the directors decided to increase the capital to cover any contingency that might arise. When the bank re-opened it did so with $120,000 of new capital which was 1.5 times the amount required. According to newspaper articles at the time, the re-capitalization and support of the shareholders and directors led to $12,000 of new deposits on the first day of re-opening.