Volunteer Federal Savings Bank

Page Title - History of Community Service
old photo original office on main street
old photo 1940s downtown Madisonville
From its very beginnings, Volunteer Federal's focus was on "community." In 1973, several prominent local businessmen saw the need to provide financing for real estate purchases within Monroe County. Up until this time, there were no local lenders in the area who would make long term loans. For the largest personal investment most local residents would make in their lifetimes, financing could only be obtained in a neighboring county, and oftentimes folks had to travel as far as Knoxville to get a home loan. These pioneering businessmen saw an opportunity and took the initiative to establish a savings and loan association in Monroe County, for Monroe County. This insightful group included Charles Hall, John Hammontree, Gene Hicks, Stanley Pickering, Sr., Bobby Richesin, Charles Sloan, and Kendred White.
photo of Larry - a History of Community Service
In August 1973, Volunteer Federal was organized in a mobile office on Warren Street in Madisonville, the county seat. It was started with $1.5 million in assets, pledged by the community and the seven founding members, who became the board of directors. Volunteer Federal became the first Savings and Loan institution in Monroe County to provide financing for land and home purchases. The response and support was very positive.

Upon receiving its FDIC insurance of accounts in early 1974, Volunteer Federal was able to start accepting deposits. Business was conducted from a humble rented one-room office between the old Post Office and Sheets Dry Goods Store on Main Street in Madisonville. A warehouse-type room behind the office served as the boardroom. In those days - before computers - all account ledgers were kept on paper. Banking was conducted very differently than it is today, but the hometown focus and philosophy of maintaining quality assets and a strong capital reserve became well established foundations for Volunteer Federal.

"In over 40 years of existence, Volunteer Federal has helped thousands of folks achieve one of the most important things in their lives... home ownership. Our mission from day one was to make loans for families in our community to fulfill this dream of a home. Our goals have not changed." - Larry Hicks, Board Chairman
Volunteer Federal grew steadily - in fact, since 1974 the bank has never had a single losing quarter, even in its first year. As the business grew, the need became apparent for more space. Expansion into surrounding business space began with the purchase of the Sheets Building in 1980. By 1990, Volunteer Federal's main branch occupied 4,500 sq.ft. of remodeled space, with its drive-up window where the old Post Office had stood, and parking where its original rented office had been located. A Consumer Loan Division had been opened in Sweetwater, the Tellico Plains branch was operating from a mobile facility, and a branch was opened to serve Vonore/Greenback customers.

Today, Volunteer Federal's main branch encompasses the entire block at the corner of Main St. and College St., and is part of the thriving downtown business district of Madisonville. Six Volunteer Federal branches now serve the county as its oldest locally owned financial institution. Being the "Hometown Bank" was the idea Volunteer Federal was founded on, and remains the bank's main focus. The entire banking family appreciates the support of customers, friends, and its own employees, for the continued strength and success of the institution.

photos History of Community Service
Volunteer Federal has always given back to its community, putting customers and the betterment of the local area at the top of its priority list. Support of schools, clubs, and other organizations has been a big part of the bank's involvement. They have celebrated the good times and have stepped forward with needed support when times were not so good.

Over the years, the bank's leaders and employees have participated in the community in a wide spectrum of activities. Some projects have had high visibility, but a larger number include "unseen" involvement - sponsorships, contributions, manpower, volunteer hours, and aid to a host of worthwhile causes. Volunteer Federal is dedicated to continuous support of education, arts, sports, and economic development programs in Monroe County. Strong communities are the result of working together, and this outlook has dictated Volunteer Federal's participation in programs such as:

  • Monroe County Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Association Memberships and Leadership
  • Industrial Development Board of the Tellico Reservoir Development Agency (TRDA)
  • Support and Leadership for Monroe County United Way
  • Support of Volunteer Fire Departments
  • Sponsorship of youth civic and sports groups and programs
  • Support of agricultural and 4-H programs
  • Involvement in health fairs
  • Monroe County Habitat for Humanity
  • Community Christmas celebrations
  • Tornado Relief Drop Site and Funds Donated for Renovation from damages
  • Since 1987 - Support of Scholars Bowl at local high school
  • PTO organization support
  • Public Libraries and Summer Reading Programs
  • Hiwassee College Scholarships, Financial Support for Facility Improvements
  • College Loans through Tennessee Educational Asset Management Program
  • Support of the Arts and Humanities - Monroe Area Council for the Arts (MACA) and Sweetwater Valley Citizens for the Arts
  • American Cancer Society Relay for Life
  • Grassroots Bring Home the Guard Campaign
  • Wiener Wagon Program
Volunteer Federal photo with veterans
Tellico Plains office photo
Volunteer Federal Wiener Wagon photo
The Volunteer Federal Wiener Wagon can now be borrowed by church groups, civic groups, charitable organizations, business associations, etc., for your special cookout or fundraiser. The Wiener Wagon comes equipped with an eight-burner gas grill, a large refrigeration unit with prep surface, four portable coolers, electrical outlets, lighting, shelving and storage, and cooking utensils. Towing requirements for the Wiener Wagon include at least a half-ton truck with a 2-inch trailer ball. To check on the Wiener Wagon's availability or to reserve the Wiener Wagon for your next fundraiser or activity, interested parties should contact Volunteer Federal's Main Office at 423-442-4545. A $100 advance deposit and a signed liability release are required. The deposit will be refunded once the Wiener Wagon is determined to be clean and usable upon its return.

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