In 1906, a group of cotton planters who were tired of traveling to Opelousas to bring back sacks of silver dollars to pay their helpers, got together and founded a bank. In the first year of operation, the Bank of Sunset reported deposits of $33,000, by 1942 the deposits had grown to $833,000. At the end of the 1948 fiscal year the deposits were over four million dollars, making the Bank of Sunset and Trust Company “the biggest little bank in the world.”
Frank Dimmick, a planter and civic leader living on the large Bellevue Plantation in the Sunset-Bellevue section of St. Landry Parish, was the man instrumental in organizing the Bank of Sunset and Trust Company on April 16, 1906. And on that same day the bank began operating, Dimmick married Mathilda Crimen in New Orleans. The anniversary of Dimmick’s marriage, and of his bank were celebrated together each year thereafter.
At the time the bank was formed, Sunset was only a village with a population of maybe 700 people. Frank Dimmick was the bank’s first president, and Floyd Franques was the first cashier. As the bank grew and prospered, more people became involved including Frank S. Barry who worked there for over 35 years. When Sunset Bank celebrated it 40th anniversary in 1946, with Dimmick still as president, other bank officers included Gaston Horaise, First Vice-President; A. T. Burleigh, Second Vice-President; R. J. Castille, Cashier; and J. E. Cummings, Assistance Cashier.
The featured photograph at the top of this story was taken in about 1948 when the bank moved into its new building called “one of the most modern banking facilities in the state for a bank of its size.” As the bank continued to grow, in 1969 it moved into a much larger building which it currently occupies.
The development of the village of Sunset into the community it is today is linked with the growth and expansion of the Sunset banking house. In April of 2006, the Bank of Sunset celebrated its 100th birthday. From modest beginning over a century ago, today the Bank of Sunset is a modern, multi-office financial institution serving the communities of Sunset, Grand Coteau, Lafayette and Broussard.