The Holding Family and First Citizens Bank

A First Citizens branch on S. Broad Street in Brevard, crica 1950s-1960s.

On March 1, 1898, the Bank of Smithfield, now known as First Citizens Bank, opened for business.

The bank, Johnston County’s first, was founded by Allen W. Smith who remained president until 1906.  The institution became First National Bank of Smithfield before merging with Citizens National Bank to become First and Citizens National Bank. In 1929, the company adopted the now-familiar moniker of First Citizens Bank & Trust Company.

Robert Powell Holding, who joined the bank as an assistant cashier in 1918, became president in 1935. He piloted First Citizens through the Depression and World War II, and by the time of his death in 1957, it was the second largest bank in North Carolina. Holding’s three sons continued in their father’s footsteps by occupying the key posts of chairman of the board, president and vice president.

The Holdings grew First Citizens into one of the largest family-controlled banks in the United States, and the family continues to own the bank today.

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