At the Annual Stockholders’ Meeting in May 2021, Ralph J. Sommers, Jr. will retire from the Board of Directors after serving Community Bank for 42 years.
Following a stint in the United States Marine Corp, Ralph started his banking career in 1959 with Pittsburgh National Bank. He joined the First National Bank of Carmichaels in 1979 as Executive Vice President. In 1980, the First National Bank of Carmichaels had three offices, all in Greene County, and boasted footings of approximately $40 million.
Ralph joined the Board of Directors of the First National Bank of Carmichaels in 1983. He became President & CEO in 1984 and Chairman of the Board in 1999 and held that position until 2019. He retired as Chairman in 2019 but remained as a director. When Ralph retires in 2021, he will have served in crucial leadership positions at Community Bank for an amazing 42 years. During the 42 years of his leadership, the Bank grew, changed, and prospered in many ways.
One of his first decisions was to prepare the Bank for the future, so, in 1987, the First National Bank of Carmichaels changed its name to Community Bank, with much fanfare. This decision was a harbinger of his determination to build the Bank beyond Greene County.
Ralph spearheaded the Bank’s expansion into Washington County. After opening an office in Washington in 1987, other offices followed in McMurray in 1994, Claysville in 1996 and the Southpointe Office in 2000. Then, in 2004, Community Bank expanded into the Allegheny County markets of Brookline and Brentwood. In 2008, a new Washington Office was constructed. But much more was underway than adding branches. Ralph led the Bank in its conversion from a federally regulated bank to a state-regulated bank in 2006.
During his tenure as Chairman, in 2014, the Bank acquired First Federal Savings Bank and its subsidiary, Exchange Underwriters, an insurance agency. This added five offices, and the Bank’s assets grew to $850 million. At this time, the Bank also formed its holding company, CB Financial Services, Inc., registered with the SEC, and started to trade on NASDAQ. We welcomed Progressive Bank to the family in 2018, bringing the Bank to 24 branch offices and $1.3 billion in assets.
Ralph was Chairman during the construction of the Ralph J. Sommers, Jr. Operations Center in the EverGreene Technology Park in Waynesburg, PA and the construction of the Barron P. (“Pat”) McCune, Jr. Corporate Center in Washington, PA. These facilities provided the Bank with modern appropriate housing for the ever-growing financial company.
Ralph also, was very active in his community, serving as President of the Chamber of Commerce, on the local hospital board, and as the long-time Chairman of the Greene County Industrial Developments, Inc., among many other endeavors. In 2010, he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers’ Hall of Fame.
All of Ralph’s friends readily give credit to Ralph’s beautiful family for much of his success. He has been married to his high school sweetheart and wonderful wife, Betty, for 61 years. They have three children, Brian, Lisa, and LeAnna, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Ralph’s family is a constant source of pride and comfort for Ralph and undoubtedly has helped him through the many triumphs and tough times mentioned.
Community Bank grew 35-fold over 42 years and adapted through all the vagaries of life to emerge today as one of the premier independent “community banks” in the mid-Atlantic region, thanks to Ralph’s leadership. The Community Bank family was always grateful for Ralph’s cool head, common sense, and courage in tough times. Thank you, Ralph J. Sommers, Jr., and may you enjoy your well-earned retirement with your family!