With the music of trumpeter Marquis Hill and his combo playing softly in the background, a crowd of customers, stockholders, and downtown Evanston workers gathered in the lobby of First Bank & Trust on Church Street late Thursday afternoon with no apparent agenda except to socialize and have a good time.

“A community bank should be more than just a financial institution. We want to help foster and build a sense of local community” was the rationale expressed by the bank in invitations to the event.

Bank CEO Robert Yohanan welcomes his guests with brief remarks.

A number of the bank’s customers were involved in the occasion, with food from BAT 17; beverages by Schaefer’s Wine, Food & Spirits; flowers by Saville Flowers, and a raffle of a six-month membership to the Evanston Athletic Club.

Evanston entrepreneur Prabha Sinha of ZS Associates chats with Managing Director Howard Kain.

The locally-owned financial institution was chartered 20 years ago and has steadily grown to nearly $911 million in total assets and $825 million in deposits, as of the end of 2014.

Guests eat, drink, and socialize.

Headquartered in Evanston, the bank has offices in Skokie, Winnetka, Naperville, and Itasca.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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