The First National Bank of Henning was organized on July 14, 1903, by a group of investors from Wadena, Minnesota, and associated with the Merchants National Bank in that city. Its primary incorporators were Isaac Hazlett, J.J. Meyer, and F.B. Coons. Its first President was Isaac Hazlett, and first cashier was H.H. Brutlag. The First National Bank's first building was constructed at 512 Douglas Avenue, the main street of Henning, in 1904. The building was expanded at the same site in 1948, 1965, 1984, 2001 and 2005. In 1977, the First National Bank established a branch in the city of Ottertail. In 1987, a building was constructed to house this as an extended facility of the Bank. In 2007, a new building was constructed at 106 MN State Hwy 78 N, Ottertail MN, which is the current location of the Ottertail bank. The old bank building was sold to the City of Ottertail in 2007.
The First National Bank of Battle Lake was a successor institution to the Otter Tail County Bank which was organized in March, 1900. Its owners were R. F. McClellan and H.F. Head, of Princeton, Minnesota. It's first building was construction in 1903. It was incorporated with a State Bank charter in1903. On May 23, 1907 the bank received authorization of its charter as a national bank and became the First National Bank of Battle Lake. In August of 1967, the bank experienced its only hold-up and was robbed of $17,890. The robbers were eventually arrested by the FBI in Idaho. The bank underwent remodels in 1937, 1973 and 1977. In January of 1993, the bank was sold to Henning Bancshares, Inc., the same owner of The First National Bank of Henning. In 2003, the bank underwent extensive construction.
The Administration of both banks have been amply supported over their time with dedicated persons as members of the Board of Directors. During the entire century-plus of existence, the First National Banks of Henning and Battle Lake have been independent full-service financial institutions pledging to serve the Otter Tail County area. The Espeland family, current owner of the banks, has had involvement with the bank dating back to 1930. From its inception, the Bank and its Officers and Board Members have contributed both time and resources for the welfare of community and educational committees and boards.