All Fortress Bank branches will be closed Monday, May 27th, in observance of the Memorial Day Holiday.

About Us

Our Philosophy

This is where your Vision comes together.

We’re fortified with lots of sharp visionary thinkers, most of whom have walked in your shoes. And we have the scuff marks to prove it. We understand that bold visions often require progressive tactics. Our roll-up-your-sleeves tenacity drives us to move beyond typical banking conventions and find more creative financial solutions proven to grow your business.

Our History

Over 120 years in banking. How’s that for strength?

We opened our doors in 1904 and have remained dedicated to helping those in our community with sound financial solutions for business and personal use. Today, we have nine banking centers in Illinois and Iowa and a team of super smart associates with a heavy emphasis on helping businesses thrive.

In 2008 Lee Garlach with a group of visionaries purchased the bank and a few months after his arrival, the financial crisis hit, making things challenging to say the least. As the crisis spread into a global economic shock, many banks failed. But with Lee’s guidance and unshakeable perseverance, the bank, like a mighty fortress, stood strong. Today, with nearly $600 million in assets, Fortress continues to be a strong, stable force in helping entrepreneurs and Midwest neighbors succeed.

  • 1904
    Opened for business as The State Bank of Burnside
  • 1941
    Moved to LaHarpe, IL and became the State Bank of LaHarpe
  • 2008
    Opened loan production office in Peoria, IL
  • 2012
    Opened full service banking center in Peoria, IL
  • 2014
    Opened two more loan production offices in Quad Cities and Pekin, IL
  • 2017
    Renamed bank to Fortress Bank
  • 2018
    Opened full-service banking center in Davenport, IA
  • 2019
    Opened a loan production office in Des Moines, IA
  • Vision
    To be the bank of entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs

He’s got a little street cred.

Meet Lee — horse rancher, entrepreneur, and financial wiz who knows the ups and downs and sideways of running a business. Lee owned and managed a beer distributorship, and successfully navigated it through some brutally tough times. Oh, by the way, he’s our owner and CEO. And we’re happy he’s back in the saddle leading the charge here at the Fort.

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