First State Bank of Forrest


For over 100 years the First State Bank of Forrest has been a strong, reliable banking option in our area and has facilities in Forrest, Fairbury, Onarga, Erie, and Peoria Heights, Illinois. Recently, the bank has been working on a new branch in Mahomet in hopes of opening it later this year. They are a family-owned and locally-owned company, and they plan to stay that way.
Although merging banks are a trend in the industry, Michael Palen, Vice President and Director, says, “We won’t be merging. We’re strong and ready for another 100 years.”
“We are third-generation bankers with my brother, Zach, and me in the business. Grandpa bought this bank years ago, my father has been in banking his entire career, and I have been with our family bank since I graduated from Illinois State University.”
“Zach also graduated from ISU more recently and he started in our Peoria office and now he is in the Fairbury office permanently.”
Both Michael and Zach grew up in Forrest and graduated from Prairie Central High School and Illinois State as did Michael’s wife, who is from Fairbury. Being local and staying local is important to Michael. As he puts it, “We are local people, Dad and I live in Forrest and Zach lives in rural Chatsworth. We enjoy working with local people who we have known for many years and also those who just moved to town. Our business allows us to build relationships and that is important to us.”
A few years ago the bank introduced a new checking account – the Kasasa account. It is a free account that offers a good interest rate and ATM refunds. This account is structured to be beneficial for the consumer and the bank. While you are enjoying all the consumer tailored benefits, the bank can continue to grow and provide the top quality service you have come to expect.
The bank is upgrading their system to offer even more options to its customers. Your transactions now show immediately in your account as the new system is “live” – in real time, instead of waiting for an overnight processing. They will be able to offer things like a mobile app and mobile deposit.
If you are in the market for a checking account that earns a nice interest rate or for home loans, mortgages, construction loans, or home equity loans, give Michael a call at (815)-657-8248 or Zach at (815)-692-4321 and let them, and their team, serve your banking needs!

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