Early Banks of New York City

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The Citizens' Savings Bank
The Citizens' Savings Bank, of 56 and 58 Bowery, at the corner of Canal Street, one of the most notable institutions of the kind in the City of New York, is in a sense the creation of its President, Mr. Edward A. Quintard. It may at least be said that he has made the history of the bank what it is. Its two highest executive offices he has successively occupied during the long period of thirty-five years, having been its Vice-President from the date of the organization of the institution in 1860, to 1867, while since 1869 he has been its President.

The interests which Mr. Quintard has been able to bring to the support of the bank are shown in the remarkably strong directorate. On January 1, 1897, the Trustees were as follows: Edward A. Quintard, President; William E. Clark, Vice-President; Chas H. Steinway, Vice-President; John W. Pirsson, Attorney and Counselor; General Daniel Butterworth, George W. Odell, Ferdinand Traud, Barak G. Coles, John H. Peet, John L. Dudley, Courtlandt D. Moss, Douglas Taylor, Richard C. McCormick, Thomas H. Wood, Charles Gulden, Percival Kuhne, John Stemme, Robert P. Lethbridge, Sigourney W. Fay, Charles H. Tenney; Henry Hasler, Secretary, Charles W. Held. Cashier.

The Citizens' Savings Bank is one of the double column" financial institutions, its assets on January 1, 1897, being $12,747,153.09. The total number of accounts which had been opened at the same date were 236,184. Of these 7,575 were new accounts for the year 1896. The rules of the bank regarding interest on deposits are as follows:

"Deposits made on or before the tenth day of January, and remaining in bank on the first day of July will be entitled to six months' interest. Deposits made on or before the first day of April and remaining in bank on the first day of July, will be entitled to three month's interest. Deposits made on or before the tenth day of July and remaining in bank on the first day of January, will be entitled to six months' interest.

Deposits made on or before the first day of October, and remaining in bank on the first day of January, will be entitled to three months' interest. Interest will be computed on the first days of January and July, and will be payable on and after the twenty-first days of January and July. Interest will be entered to the credit of each depositor on the books of the bank, dated the first day of January and July, and added to the principal from these dates respectively; and, if not withdrawn, will bear interest the same as a deposit of cash, and will be entered on the depositors' book whenever presented."

The Bank of New Amsterdam
Organized in 1891 under the State Banking Act, the Bank of New Amsterdam has been successful from its inception. It is located in the Metropolitan Opera House, northwest corner of Broadway and Thirty-ninth Street, and transacts a general business, being a leading depository for business family, and personal accounts of that wealthy district. The bank is provided with every facility, has a special department for ladies issues letters of credit to travelers in all parts of Europe, and gives its depositors all the discount facilities consistent with sound banking. It does an extensive business in Eastern Exchange, and has correspondents in all the principal cities.

Mr. Frank Tilford became President of the Bank of New Amsterdam on July 7, 1896, at which time the average deposits were about $1,500,000. On November 3, 1898, the average deposits were $3,500,000 with surplus and profits of $376,000, which shows a very large increase in its business. The bank entered the New York Clearing House Association, May 20, 1897. Its officers are: President, Frank Tilford; Vice-President, R. Reed Moore, and Cashier, George J. Baumann. Its directorate is composed of the following men of prominence: Samuel D. Babcok, capitalist; John S. Barnes, banker; Frederic Cromwell, Treasurer Mutual Life Insurance Company; Frank Curtiss, merchant; Thomas Denny, of Thomas Denny & Company, R.M. Gallaway, President Merchants' National Bank; Robert Goelet capitalist; G. G. Haven, capitalist; A. D. Juilliard, of A.D. Juillian & Company; R. V. Lewis, of Lewis & Conger; Richard A. McCurdy President Mutual Life Insurance Company; John L. Riker of J.L. & D. S. Riker; Elihu Root, of Root & Clark; Thomas F. Ryan, Capitalist, John A. Stewart, President United States Trust Company; Louis Stern of Stern Brothers; J. Edward Simmons, President Fourth National Bank; F.D. Tappen, President; Gallatin National Bank; John T. Terry, banker Frank Tilford; of Park & Tilford.

The German Savings Bank
In the City of New York, of which Hon. Philip Bissinger has been President since 1864, is among the most notable financial institutions in the United States. At present writing its total resources reach the aggregate sum of more than $44,000,000, while the number of its open accounts is 93,000. Principally through the activity of Mr. Bissinger, the bank was organized in 1859 by twenty-five incorporators, Mr. Bissinger being one, each of whom subscribed $200, making a total capital of $5,000. Mr. Bissinger was successful in securing the charter, after much opposition had come into evidence. 

The bank was organized in the belief that the growing tide of German immigration afforded an opening for a German savings institution. This judgment was vindicated at once, for at the end of its first year of existence the bank could boast of 1,873 depositors and deposits amounting to $259,954.87. The phenomenal growth of the new institution was especially marked from the date of Mr. Bissinger's election to the presidency and direction of its affairs in 1864. Between that date and 1890, when the deposits had reached the large total of $30,000,000, the business of the bank had actually doubled each year; and since 1890 its annual increase of business has continued to be the striking feature in its affairs. In view of these facts it scarcely needs to be said that Mr. Bissinger is universally recognized as one of the soundest and most skillful financiers and bank executives in the United States.

In respect to its other officers, also, as well as its Board of Trustees, the German Savings Bank is one of the most strongly supported among financial institutions in this city. The general officers are: Philip Bissinger, President; Robert Schell, Vice-President; George H. Moller, Second Vice-President: G. F. Amthor, Treasurer; Frederick Pfaff, Comptroller; A. Koppel, Cashier and Secretary; Adolph Repert, Assistant Cashier. The Board of Trustees, as constituted January 1, 1897, was as follows: Philip Bissinger, merchant; Robert Schell, Hugo Wesendonck, President Germania Life Insurance Company; George H. Moller, Charles Unger, Wall Street; Julius W. Brunn, of Hagemeyer & Brunn; Alfred Roelker, of H. Bauendahl & Company; Karl Meissner, of Knoop, Frerichs & Company; Ewald Fleitman, of Fleitman & Company; Gustavus Heye, merchant; C.A. Zoebisch of C.A. Zoebisch & Company; Ernst Steiger of E. Steiger & Company; Casimer Tag, of Chas. F. Tag & Company, Percival Knauth, Banker, of Knauth, Nachod & Kuhne; Alfred Dolge, manufacturer; Carl Goepel, banker of Schultz & Ruckgalier; Robert Reuter, George F. Veetor of Fred Veetor & Achelis; George Gudewill, merchant; Dallas B. Pratt, banker of Maitland, Phelps & Company; Hugo Schumann, President Germania Fire Insurance Company; Sherman, James Speyer, banker of Speyer & company; George Sherman, vice-President Central Trust Company.

The Fifth National Bank of New York City
Located at the corner of Twenty-third Street and Third Avenue, is one of the well established financial institutions of the city, having a history running back for more than thirty-three years. Its founder and first President was the late Hon. Richard Kelly, while his eldest son, Mr. Stephen Kelly, succeeded him in the presidency, and has held the office continuously since.

The bank was organized by Mr. Richard Kelly in January, 1864 with a capital stock of $150,000. The incorporators were Richard Kelly, N.J. Haines, Sydney P. Nichols, F. W. Haines, D.D.T. Marshall, Thompson W. Decker, Henry H. Robertson, Henry R. David, E. Delafield Smith, Nelson Post, David Dayton, J.A. Frazee, William Tilden, J.R.G. Foster, James Thomson, and Ethan Allen. Mr. Richard Kelly was elected President at the first meeting of the directors, and continued to be the active head of the bank until his death, in his seventy-seventh year, April 20, 1897.

As a matter of fact, it may almost be said that the history of the bank is entirely embraced in the history of Mr. Kelly's career, since he not merely conceived and launched the enterprise, but through his skillful yet conservative executive management and direction of its affairs, he brought the bank into high standing among financial corporations as a thoroughly sound institution, and one which has never wavered during the most trying seasons of commercial depression and financial disaster and panic. The strong features of his own personal character, stanch rectitude, and a conservative nature, he deeply impressed upon the policy and character of the bank as a financial institution. Throughout its history the bank has paid dividends. Its present capital stock is $200,000, while its surplus is $325,000. The building at the corner of Twenty-third Street and Third Avenue, erected and owned by the bank, has been occupied since 1875.

Dr. Stephen Kelly, who for many years had been its Vice=President succeeded his father as President of the bank, as already stated while he was succeeded as Vice-President by his brother, Mr. Richard B. Kelly, who is also counsel and attorney of the institution. Mr. Andrew Thompson, the cashier, has served the bank in that capacity since the date of its organization. The present Board of Directors includes the following gentlemen: T. W. Decker, General D.D. Wylie, A. Thompson, Frederick Zittel, James Everard, R. B. Kelly, S.Kelly, John Byrns, and W. N. Robertson.

The Bank of The Metropolis
It is one of the most solid financial institutions in the City of New York, and which transacts an immense business in the uptown district, was organized under the laws of this State, January 7, 1871, and began business in June of the same year. The bank has always been located upon Union Square, but not always upon the same spot. From 1871 to 1877 it was located at 31 Union Square, in the latter year a removal was made to 17 Union Square, while in 1888 the more commodious quarters at 29 Union Square, where it is still located, were occupied. The original capitalization was $500,000, with right of increase to $5,000,000; but instead of availing of this right, the capital stock was subsequently reduced to $300,000.

The financial strength of the original incorporators, as well as of the directorate continuously since, is most remarkable, if not un-precedented. The original board consisted of William A. Kissam, William H. Vanderbilt, Charles L. Tiffany, of Tiffany & Company, Elisha Brooks, of Brooks Brothers; William Steinway, of Steinway & Sons; Oswald Ottendorfer, proprietor of the New York Staats Zeitung; George M. Groves, Samuel T. Howard, President of the Excelsior Life Insurance Company, of Brooklyn; Elliott F. Shepard of the law firm of Strong & Shepard, and subsequently proprietor of the New York Mail and Express.

Samuel Sloan, President of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad; Joseph Park, of Park & Tilford, and Richard Arnold son of the founder of Arnold, Constable & Company of these Charles L. Tiffany, Samuel Sloan, and Joseph Park still remain upon the present directorate while William Steinway has been succeeded by his nephew Charles Steinway, of Steinway & Sons and Richard Arnold by Hicks Arnold, of Arnold Constable & Company. The Vanderbilt interests are still represented by W.D. Sloane, of W. & J. Sloane. The other members of the present directorate are Robert Schell, capitalist and retired jewelry merchant of Maiden Lane, and who was President of the bank from 1871 to 1894; William B. Isham, capitalist and well-known leather merchant who has been Vice-President of the bank since 1885; Theodore R.Rogers, Cashier of the bank from its organization to 1894 and its President since 1894, and E.C. Evans, Cashier since 1894.

The original officers were William A. Kissam, President; George M. Groves, Vice-President, and Theodore Rogers, Cashier. Mr. E. Kissam died in 1872, and was succeeded in the directorate and as President by Robert Schell. In March, 1885, William B. Isham succeeded Mr. Groves as Vice-President. Mr. Schell retired from the Presidency in 1894, and was succeeded by Theodore Rogers, who had served the bank so long as Cashier, the latter being succeeded in turn by Edward C. Evans, then Paying Teller, and who had been connected with the institution since 1872. A well-known authority thus characterizes the bank:

"The Bank of the Metropolis is a flourishing outgrowth of the movement of business to the uptown section of New York. Union Square, where its banking house is established, was, thirty years ago a fashionable residence section. Today it is surrounded by some of the largest retail business houses in New York, and important manufacturing and wholesale industries are plentiful in the neighborhood. The magnitude of these interests is attested by the success of this prosperous institution, the business of which is derived from their requirements, and which is conducted in a manner to attract the custom and support of the dry goods, furniture, jewelry, and other classes of merchants whose places of business are in the vicinity. The board of directors is a remarkably strong body, compromising representatives of houses which are known not only in New York but throughout the United States. The bank has a deposit line of nearly $7,000,000, and a surplus of $600,000 has been accumulated on the capital of $300,000. Its shares have a market value of over $400 each." Bringing this statement to date, we must record a surplus of $800,000 and deposits of nearly $8,000,000.

The Chase National Bank
It is located in the new Clearing House Building, 77-83 Cedar Street, New York, was organized September 13, 1877, by John Thompson and his son, Samuel C. Thompson, who were the founders of the First National Bank of New York. The name, Chase National Bank was chosen in honor of Chief Justice and ex-secretary Chase, the founder of the National Banking system. It was one of the original depositories and fiscal agencies of the United States, and still continues to act in that capacity.

In November, 1886, the bank stock owned by the estate of Samuel C. Thompson (who died in 1883) was purchased by several well-known capitalists, and Hon. Henry W. Cannon (who had resigned the office of Comptroller of the Currency in February of the same year to accept the Vice-Presidency of the National Bank of the Republic was elected President. Its original capital was $300,999, which was increased July 1, 1887, to $500,000 and further increased, January 1, 1898, to $1,000,000. The deposits of the bank, which were $4,000,000 in 1886, have now reached about $40,000,000. The bank has $1,000,000 surplus. The bank's present standing in the world of finance is undoubtedly due to the fact that its operations unite a careful conservatism with the adoption of that which is new and good repute in banking practice. Its business has not expanded under the unhealthy stimulus of over-liberality to customers, but to the proper and business-like treatment of all matters coming within it.

Its officers are: Henry W. Cannon, President; William H. Porter, Vice-President; J.T. Mills, Jr., Cashier; C.C. Slade, Assistant, Cashier. Its Directors are: H.W. Cannon, Samuel Thomas, Edward Tuck, James J. Hill, of St. Paul, Minn.; Calvin S. Brice, John G. Moore, William H. Porter.

Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Early Banks of New York City
Researcher/Preparer/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Leslie's History of the Greater New York: biographical, Volume de Luxe; Daniel Van Pelt, Arkell Publishing Company, 1898
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